The Bat Earned Recognition (ER) Pilot Project is a partnership project between Natural England (NE), the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). The project will implement a scheme of professional accreditation for applicants for bat mitigation licences. The aims of the scheme are to (1) streamline licensing, (2) raise and maintain professional standards in bat mitigation work and (3) improve outcomes for bats.

BAT EARNED RECOGNITION PILOT PROJECT: UPDATE 28.09.21

The Bat Earned Recognition Pilot has now moved into the exciting stage of starting the assessment of 100 ecologists’ competence through accreditation testing (please note applications are now closed). The project team and partnership would like to express their thanks to those that have applied and shown an interest in this ground-breaking pilot. The pilot had over 200 applicants which has enabled the pilot to ensure a wide range of individuals (e.g. organisation type, years of experience, geographic locations, accreditation level application, etc) are represented in the pilot to help ensure we have as robust and fair a system as possible.

The portal for accreditation testing will open imminently and our team of expert assessors are standing by to begin their assessments. The Project Team will continue to keep you updated as the pilot progresses.

Should you require any further details please contact the Partnership via their Mailbox EarnedRecognition.Bat@naturalengland.org.uk

The current consultation Q&A document, along with other ER Pilot background content, can be found below.

The Privacy Notice relating to the Earned Recognition Pilot can be found below.

Queries

If you have any queries regarding the ER Pilot, please do contact us using EarnedRecognition.Bat@naturalengland.org.uk

Background - Why Bats?

Applications for licences involving bats and bat roosts are by far the highest proportion of mitigation licence applications received by Natural England and numbers are increasing year on year. The vast majority are lower risk situations but they still need to be licensed which requires time, effort and cost on the part of the developer, the consultant and Natural England. This reduces the resources available for monitoring, enforcement and drawing together the evidence base for the effectiveness of mitigation. Natural England’s resources to put into licensing are stretched and a more streamlined approach would have benefits for everyone.

We believe that an accreditation system would help to improve standards of bat mitigation and lead to better outcomes for bat conservation.

Earned Recognition

Earned Recognition works on the basis of assessing and accrediting a consultant’s competence in undertaking survey work and designing effective mitigation so that, by using an accredited consultant, developers can experience a more streamlined licensing process for their scheme or project.

The competency requirements for consultants are being defined on the basis of relevant selected elements of CIEEM’s Competency Framework (but a more detailed version with a bats emphasis) with the indicators of competence mapped across to BCT’s Professional Training Standards. There will be different competency requirements based on the level of accreditation applied for which, in turn, relates to the degree of risk to bats and bat roosts from the projects that the accredited consultant will be able to work on. Quite simply, consultants who work on projects that involve higher risks to bats will require a higher level of accreditation that involves demonstrating a higher level of competence.

The number of bat species in the UK, together with the variation in their geographical distribution makes this quite a complex system to design, so we have produced some key documents:

Consultation

Natural England undertook a stakeholder consultation exercise earlier in the project lifecycle but the project partners wanted to undertake a further consultation on the detail of the project, prior to running a pilot.

A detailed consultation for ecologists involved in mitigation licensing was launched on 17th November 2020 and closed on 5th January 2021. The results of the consultation are reported here.

The project partners delivered a webinar for ecologists about the proposed scheme and the forthcoming pilot on 19th November from 13.00-14.00. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

Many questions were submitted before and during the webinar and in the following months. In April 2021 we updated our Q & A document and this version can be found here.

A less detailed consultation for other stakeholder groups, including local authority planners, local authority ecologists, developers, architects, planning consultants, builders and NGOs was also launched on 17th November 2020 but closed on 31st January 2021. The results of this consultation are reported here.

General Contact Details and Privacy Notice

General queries regarding the project should be directed to:

Jan Collins, Head of Biodiversity, BCT: jcollins@bats.org.uk

Sally Hayns, CEO, CIEEM: sallyhayns@cieem.net

NE: EarnedRecognition.Bat@naturalengland.org.uk

The relevant Privacy Notice can be found below: