Planning and the law

Why consider protected species during land use planning processes?

The conservation of bats within the built environment is reliant on the delivery of a number of factors:

Legal protection

Legislation dictates that any structures or place which a bats use for shelter or protection are protected from damage or destruction whether occupied or not. This legislation has been incorporated into planning policies. This means that planning authorities have a legal obligation to consider whether bats are likely to be affected by a proposed development.

How does this relate to day to day planning?

  • If a bat survey has not already been undertaken to determine the potential for bats on site, and or the presence of bats:
    • The authority should request that the developers commission an appropriate survey
  • If a bat survey demonstrates that development is likely to affect bat foraging and/or commuting habitat:
    • Linear features such as tree lines should be retained, and compensatory planting should be considered wherever possible.
  • If a bat survey demonstrates that bats and/or a known roost are likely to be affected by the proposed development and planning permission is to be granted:
Planning and the law

In instances where a planning authority has not done any what is outlined above, they could have failed their duties and you have a right to challenge them.

The British Standards Institution has published a code of practice for planning authorities on how they should address biodiversity in planning.

Applications that have been refused on nature conservation grounds:

Specific planning policies in each country:

  • In England - National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), references the ODPM Circular 06/2005 and its Guide to Good Practice
  • In Wales - TAN5 Nature Conservation and Planning
  • In Scotland - NPPG14 Natural Heritage and PAN60 Planning for Natural Heritage
  • In Northern Ireland - PPS2 Planning and Nature Conservation

Please note: Being a small charity, the Bat Conservation Trust are unfortunately unable to comment on individual planning application cases. However, we do provide a helpful resource pack which provides more information on this topic.