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Planning and the Law

Why consider protected species during land use planning processes?

Natterer's Bat (T Thorne)

The conservation of bats within the built environment is reliant on the delivery of a number of factors:

For these factors to be delivered, development proposals must have as much information as possible before applications are given planning permission.

 Concerned a development may harm bats or their roosts

Legal protection

Legislation dictates that any structures or place which a bats use for shelter or protection are protected from damage or destruction whether occupied or not. This legislation has been incorporated into planning policies. This means that planning authorities have a legal obligation to consider whether bats are likely to be affected by a proposed development.

How does this relate to day to day planning?

  • If a bat survey has not already been undertaken to determine the potential for bats on site, and or the presence of bats:
    • The authority should request that the developers commission an appropriate survey 
  • If a bat survey demonstrates that development is likely to affect bat foraging and/or commuting habitat:
    • Linear features such as tree lines should be retained, and compensatory planting should be considered wherever possible.
  • If a bat survey demonstrates that bats and/or a known roost are likely to be affected by the proposed development and planning permission is to be granted:

Bat box for mitigation or enhancementIn instances where a planning authority has not done any what is outlined above, they could have failed their duties and you have a right to challenge them.

The British Standards Institution has published a code of practice for planning authorities on how they should address biodiversity in planning.

 Applications that have been refused on nature conservation grounds:

Specific planning policies in each country:

  • In England - National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), references the ODPM Circular 06/2005 and its Guide to Good Practice
  • In Wales - TAN5 Nature Conservation and Planning
  • In Scotland - NPPG14 Natural Heritage and PAN60 Planning for Natural Heritage
  • In Northern Ireland - PPS2 Planning and Nature Conservation

Updated May '12

Find out more

Bats and the Law (1 MB) - 04/03/12
A basic introduction to the legal protection of bats in the British Isles.

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