Netting around potential roosts
BCT Position Statement
The RSPB have their position and recommendations for the use of netting here. At BCT we are concerned that the use of netting could also have impacts on bats and other wildlife.
Although the use of netting is itself not illegal, it would be unlawful if as a result of its use, the netting either prevented bats from entering or exiting an existing roost or injured or killed bats. Where netting activities are likely to affect bat roosts, such work should be carried out under a licence or advice from a statutory nature conservation organisation so that impacts can be avoided or adequately mitigated for.
Careful consideration will be needed to develop rules around allowing legitimate activity to continue without endangering bats, birds and other wildlife. Firstly, careful consideration should be given to whether it is really necessary to place netting on buildings, hedges or trees that are vital for supporting wildlife. Could these features be retained?
Should the use of netting be deemed unavoidable then competent ecological advice should be sought and heeded before it is installed. It may be necessary to carry out ecological survey work, conduct an impact assessment, design a mitigation strategy and seek a licence or further advice as stated above. Mitigation may include timing constraints, ensuring bats are absent before work and replacing important roosting, commuting and foraging habitats that are lost. If, after installation, unexpected impacts on bats are observed, then the netting must be removed immediately and further advice sought.
Unless there are good grounds for believing that a bat roost is being impacted, BCT does not have the capacity to get directly involved with individual cases. We have compiled advice to help concerned members of the public to protect bats by bringing matters to the attention of planning authorities and/or the police when bats or their roosts are threatened. This advice is available from: https://www.bats.org.uk/advice/development-concerns-1