Roost Count COVID-19 guidance

Updated 31st July 2020

Roost Count (June – all species except for lesser horseshoe bat [late May/June], and greater horseshoe bat [July])

If you are unable to do your usual counts due to the current restrictions you may like to ask the roost owner whether they would like to do the count themselves this year, if you feel that they might be willing and able, but please let them know that there is no pressure to do this.

You may take part in the Roost Count, provided you can do so while complying with current government instructions for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey or Alderney as appropriate, and our survey-specific guidelines below.

The government instructions vary for each country/island, so please ensure you click on the relevant link above and carefully read the current guidance. Please also ensure you follow any local lockdown guidance in your survey area.

You should not feel that you have to carry out surveys this year if you have any concerns about the health and safety of yourself or other people.

If you count a bat roost at your own house then you can carry out your counts as usual.

If your site requires multiple surveyors to enable a count to be made (e.g. due to multiple entrances), and you need to involve people from other households, it is strongly recommended that each surveyor is teamed up with at least one person from their own household (for H&S reasons), that surveyors from different households maintain social distancing, and that they follow the guidelines below for counting away from their own house. Please keep a record of the names of people who assisted with a survey on each date.

If you carry out counts away from your own house then please ensure you are following government guidance and the following survey-specific guidance from BCT:

  • Please do not carry out your survey if you or anyone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Please do not carry out your surveys if you have been asked to self-isolate as part of the government's track and trace system and/or if you have been in touch with anyone who has been diagnosed or is showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Please do not carry out your surveys if you have any concerns about the health and safety of yourself or others, in particular if you have members of your household in a vulnerable category.
  • Please refer to the health and safety advice in your survey pack and carry out a risk assessment.
  • Please liaise with the roost owner to ask if they have any concerns about you visiting the roost this year, and please respect their wishes. If accessing the roost owner’s garden in order to carry out the counts then please ensure you maintain social distancing. If they are willing to allow a count to go ahead make it clear that you will need to be alone (with your survey buddy) in the area in which the counts are carried out.
  • We strongly recommend that you do not use public transport to travel to your Roost Count site. If this is not possible, please assess your ability to follow current government guidelines and otherwise keep yourself and others safe for the entire journey (both ways). If you are not sure that you can keep yourself and others safe then please do not visit your survey site this year.
  • We strongly recommend that your survey buddy is someone from within your own household with whom you do not need to maintain social distancing. This is an important Health and Safety requirement. A survey buddy needs to be able to provide immediate assistance in case of an emergency, which may not be possible under social distancing.
  • If you cannot bring someone from your own household, please ensure you carry out a risk assessment to assess whether it is safe to go ahead with the survey if your survey buddy is someone with whom you need to maintain social distancing (see the new risk assessment template in your online Roost Count resources pack).
  • If your site requires multiple surveyors to enable a count to be made (e.g. due to multiple entrances) it is strongly recommended that each surveyor is teamed up with at least one person from their own household (refer to above two points for more details), and that surveyors from different households maintain social distancing. Please keep a record of the names of people who assisted with a survey on each date.
  • Please ensure you maintain social distancing with anybody else you encounter while travelling to/from the roost or while carrying out the survey.
  • Where possible, please do not share equipment.
Next: Field Survey, Waterway Survey and Woodland Survey COVID-19 guidance