All questions about Natural England licensing should be asked of the Natural England licensing team (see contact details below).
For other parts of the British Islands please refer to your relevant Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO). Links are provided here for NatureScot, Natural Resources Wales, and Northern Ireland Environment Agency licensing pages.
For more information about training for bat licences in the UK, see the BCT training pages.
Class licences and returns
The class licence documents are re-issued for 1 January each year and made available via the publications section of the GOV.UK website (enter the keywords 'bat class licence' in the 'contains' search box).
Annual returns are all due by the end of June (to cover the period from and including 1 June to 31 May). Under the class licensing system all registered persons have the same reporting deadline (by 30 June).
There are separate class licences for Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors and all other bat survey work (both voluntary and professional).
Contacts for licensing queries
Natural England licensing useful links
Training for VBRVs and new VBRV Trainers
For information about becoming a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor (VBRV) with Natural England please see the Natural England volunteering pages on the GOV.UK website. The VBRV Training Syllabus sets out all of the subjects and skills that trainees will be expected to learn and develop before they get signed-off for their VBRV licence.
If you are already a VBRV and are interested in finding out how to become a VBRV trainer please see the BCT training web pages.
Contacts for VBRV (non-licensing) queries
Please note that the teams work to a standard ten-day response time. For relevant contact names and and telephone numbers please refer to the latest edition of The Batline*, Natural England's newsletter for bat volunteers.
Useful licensing and Natural England volunteering documents and web links
- Operational health & safety guidance for Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors.
- COVID-19 and interacting with wildlife for the purposes surveying and mitigation works (updated August 2021) - Natural England have guidance from Defra covering field work (inc. entering bat roosts and handling bats).
- Summary of Bat Advice Service Contract (including who does what within the contract and the activities that are included under the scope of the contract) updated February 2020.
- Back issues of Bat Line* (Natural England's newsletter for VBRVs. NB Bat Line issue 11 includes details on handling 'Threats to destroy roosts' at page 11).
- Bat Workers Manual (JNCC website. This is an essential tool for training as a VBRV, however for current Health & Safety instruction please see the Operational health & safety guidance for Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors).
- Getting involved with volunteering for Natural England
- Support directory for volunteers with Natural England
- Publications for VBRVs* (leaflets, guidance & technical information notes)
- Natural England Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor pages*
- Training pages for VBRVs* (including details of how to register for the Natural England Skillport and access online training for existing VBRVs and Trainees)
- Natural England Guidance on Capture & Marking of Bats* (although aimed at holders of survey class licences and project licences, this does include information such as timing of capturing bats and use of hand nets that is relevant for VBRVs)
*Please note these pages have not been transferred to GOV.UK (Natural England licensing and most of the bat related pages were transferred to the GOV.UK website in October 2014) and remain on an archived site as static pages.