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Supporting professional licensing

In recent years the need for, and the number of consultants, surveying for bats has increased greatly. It became apparent that the conservation (or Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor) licensing system did not cater for those wishing to undertake consultancy work. In England a separate licence is available for those wishing to carry out bat surveys (both in a professional and voluntary capacity) for the purposes of science and education. These activities are now covered under the new Natural England (Feb 2013) survey class licences which cover any survey work outside of the volunteer bat roost visitor service (where advice is provided on behalf of Natural England to homeowners with bats) and includes bat box checking, hibernation surveys and professional surveys i.e. those undertaken by ecological consultants.

Unfortunately there is currently no standard training route or syllabus for those wishing to gain a licence to carry out professional survey work as there is for volunteer bat roost visitors.

In order to achieve a survey class licence a consultant would be required to have attended a series of courses such as those already offered by BCT (to show they have the required theory knowledge) along with a large amount of practical experience (experience of  undertaking surveys of various structures under the guidance of a qualified consultant). To gain a licence an individual would need to be signed off (normally by 2 individuals with licences, or by a trainer), when they have showed that they have attained the required experience, in order to complete the process.

BCT's Professional Training Standards outline the skills and knowledge required to undertake professional bat surveys and level one of this document is relevant for those wishing to work in this field and train for a licence.

Anyone wishing to become a professional consultant should seek to get as much experience as they can in bat survey techniques and professional surveys. Trainees should keep a log of any experience they gain (courses, attending surveys or projects) as they will all contribute towards their licence training. For a list of BCT training courses for ecological consultants visit our training course pages.

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