Contacting an ecological consultant
If you have signs of bats, you’ll need an ecological consultant (also known as an ecologist) to advise you on any work that isn’t covered by your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO)’s free advice service. Examples include:
- Work requiring any level of planning permission from your Local Planning Authority
- Very large programmes of work (such as a housing association doing maintenance to many houses)
- Loft conversions
- Full re-roofs, or re-roofing more than one section of a church (in England)
- Demolitions of all or part of a building
- Converting a building to another use
- Work to places of worship outside England, or commercial or public buildings, blocks of flats or outbuildings anywhere in the UK
Even if you initially qualify for their free advice service, your SNCO may refer you to a consultant if they conclude your work may require a licence or is too complicated for the free advice service to help you with. You may also choose to hire a consultant if you feel that the SNCO will not be able to help you soon enough, or if you can’t follow the advice they provide.
How to find an ecological consultant
Ecological consultants can be located via:
The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) have two searchable directories of ecological consultants. To search the CIEEM directories:
- Click ‘I need an ecologist or environmental manager’ and then ‘finding an ecological consultant’
- We recommend reading the guides under the ‘Further Information’ heading on this page
- From this page you can click to search their Registered Practices Directory.
- Add your post code and choose bat surveys in the list of filters. Click “Search” and your results will appear as a list ordered in distance from the postcode (closest at the top)
- You can search all CIEEM members (who abide by the CIEEM code of professional conduct) by clicking ‘Search the Members Directory’
You can also try:
Costs for ecologists
While the CIEEM (a professional body that consultants join voluntarily) does give its members guidance on estimating fees, prices aren’t standardised and we can’t predict what your particular job will cost. We recommend getting quotes from several consultants before hiring one. Be sure to ask what the quote covers and whether there are likely to be additional charges in future.
Not all works to a bat roost require a licence. If you’re advised to hire an ecological consultant, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need a licence. However, if the works can’t be conducted in a way that will avoid disturbing the bats, or if their roosting space or conditions will be significantly altered, you may require one. Your consultant can help you to obtain it. Licences are issued by the SNCOs You should seek advice about licenses from your ecologist or your SNCO directly. The National Bat Helpline can’t answer questions about licences.
Support with your ecologist
The National Bat Helpline can’t comment on advice that has been given by a consultant. We would recommend that you either ask another consultant for a second opinion, or approach your SNCO’s licencing department directly:
- Natural England: 0300 060 3900 or email@example.com
- NatureScot: 01463 725 364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Natural Resources Wales: 0300 065 3000 or email@example.com
- Northern Ireland Environment Agency: 0300 200 7856 or firstname.lastname@example.org
While the Bat Conservation Trust does have a contract to administer Natural England’s free roost advice service, we do not deal with cases that require a licence and can’t answer licencing queries. If you don’t hear back from Natural England immediately, please keep trying.
The National Bat Helpline can not advise consultants on individual cases.