Bat Species Core Sustenance Zones and Habitats for Biodiversity Net Gain
The UK’s Good Practice Principles for Biodiversity Net Gain can be found here: https://cieem.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Biodiversity-Net-Gain-Principles.pdf.
The use of a habitat-based metric that can take net gain measures (such as enhancing existing or creating new habitats) offsite raises a new consideration for bats regarding habitats that support the ongoing viability of a roost. An important note is that legal and policy requirements regarding development and biodiversity apply, which includes protected species such as bats. The scenario covered here is when development has complied with legal and policy requirements for bats and now the question is how best to design net gain outcomes for bats.
A vital step is to determine whether the location of such ‘net gain’ habitats outside a development footprint (and the immediate surrounding area) is actually still inside the core sustenance zone of affected roosts, thereby ensuring the viability of the affected roosts, or not, which could damage the viability of the affected roosts. Next it is important to consider providing habitats used by the relevant species.
We have produced guidance to assist practitioners in getting the best out of biodiversity net gain for bats, linked below.
Listing image by Daniel Hargreaves.