Impacts of road schemes
The potential negative impacts of road construction on bats include:
- destruction, degradation and fragmentation of roosting, foraging and commuting habitat;
- mortality of bats through collision with vehicles; and
- disturbance from noise, lighting and air pollution associated with the road.
Bats are afforded protection by European and UK law in an effort to help bat populations recover from the losses sustained in the last century. Mitigation for the impacts of roads is therefore an essential part of helping to ensure the survival of our bat species.
Mitigation and compensation
Attempts to mitigate and compensate for the impacts of road schemes on bats generally include:
- the provision of alternative roosting habitat (for example, in buildings, bat boxes or through veteranisation of trees);
- planting of new commuting and foraging habitat (although it should be recognised that new planting cannot replace mature woodland);
- the provision of crossing points for bats; and
- sensitive lighting schemes (see BCT & ILP, 2018).
Call for monitoring and research
We are keen to see further monitoring and research across the UK and Europe to consolidate knowledge on what constitutes effective mitigation for the fragmentation of commuting routes by roads.
It is essential that adequate pre-construction surveys are carried out for every scheme and a landscape-scale approach is applied to mitigation. The effectiveness of mitigation in helping all biodiversity should be robustly monitored on each scheme and the results published, to enhance the design of future mitigation.
We are also keen to see more research into the impacts on bats of vehicle headlights and noise and chemical pollution from roads.
More information, including relevant references, can be found here.