In September each year BCT convenes a Consultant’s Forum at the National Bat Conference, where consultants gather to hear about BCT’s work and discuss current issues. The 2020 meeting was held on 10th September online using Zoom, which enabled a larger group of participants to attend.
2020 Consultant's Forum
At our 2020 meeting we provided updates on the following BCT work areas:
- BCT has been working with global colleagues on issues relating to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including consideration of the risk of transmission from bat workers to bats and also dispelling potential negative media surrounding bats and the pandemic.
- The Earned Recognition Project is a partnership with Natural England and the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management that aims to reform the licensing system, raise professional standards and improve outcomes for bats.
- BCT publications that are currently being updated such as Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists Good Practice Guidelines 3rd edition and the Professional Training Standards. The survey guidelines update has now been delayed; it is likely that the 4th edition will now be published in spring 2022.
- Guidelines are now available on using Thermal Imaging Cameras for Bat Surveys and we are working collaboratively with another partner on guidance for using Infra Red Cameras for Bat Surveys, which will be published in advance of the 4th edition of the survey guidelines.
- Our Back from the Brink Grey Long-eared Bat Project has produced guidelines on the identification of our two long-eared bat species, which may be useful as ranges of these species alter in response to climate change.
- The results of our Bearing Witness for Wildlife Bat Roost Mitigation Project are now published in a Conservation Evidence paper and an article in the September 2020 edition of CIEEM's In Practice. BCT currently sit on the Advisory Board for CIEEM's Bat Mitigation Guidelines update; the results of our mitigation project will feed into this.
- We have a new Wildlife Crime Officer, Mark Goulding, in post. The Wildlife Crime Project continues to advise on the prevention, investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime.
- The Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning (PBP) Project is a partnership with 19 organisations representing the biodiversity, data, planning and development sectors aiming to improve the consideration of biodiversity in planning. Although the funding for this project has now ended and we have no project officer in post, the project's website is still packed full of useful resources and the Wildlife Assessment Check will be managed and updated for the next three years.
- Our Built Environment Project includes topics such as lighting guidance, non-bitumen coated roofing membranes (a new methods paper is now available allowing manufacturers to test new membranes for their bat friendliness but for now bitumen 1F is the only safe membrane), and the brand new Roost website, awards and partnership and our bat box sensor project.
- We have been working with partners to produce a document on how best to incorporate bat habitats into Biodiversity Net Gain.
- We also gave updates on our policy work, including Local Nature Recovery Strategies, Nature Recovery Networks, Natural Capital and Climate Change.
A varied discussion followed including topics such as rabies vaccinations, the Planning Policy Reform White Paper, Natural Capital, voluntary bat work over winter, licensing, roofing membranes, night vision equipment, bat surveys and wildlife crime.
Please do consider attending our 2021 meeting, which will be advertised closer to the time.
We are grateful to Wildlife Acoustics for co-sponsoring the event