All questions about Natural England licensing should be asked of the Natural England licensing team (see contact details below).
For more information about training for bat licences in the UK, see the BCT training pages.
Class licences and returns
The class licence documents are re-issued for 1 January each year and made available via the publications section of the GOV.UK website (enter the keywords 'bat class licence' in the 'contains' search box).
Annual returns are all due by the end of June (to cover the period from and including 1 June to 31 May). Under the class licensing system all registered persons have the same reporting deadline (by 30 June).
There are separate class licences for Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors and all other bat survey work (both voluntary and professional). The above deadlines apply to both the VBRV annual report and survey class licences report.
Contacts for licensing queries
- Licensing team general number: 0300 060 3900
- VBRV & Survey Class Licences email
- EPS Mitigation Licensing email
- If you would like to sign up to receive the Natural England Wildlife Licensing Newsletter (formerly the EPS newsletter) please make the subject of your email: “Wildlife Licensing Newsletter”
- Back issues of the newsletter are available on the GOV.UK website.
Contacts for VBRV (non-licensing) queries
Please note that the teams work to a standard ten-day response time. For relevant contact names and and telephone numbers please refer to the latest edition of The Batline*, Natural England's newsletter for bat volunteers.
Training for VBRVs and new VBRV Trainers
For information about becoming a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor with Natural England please see the Natural England volunteering pages on the GOV.UK website.
If you are already a VBRV and are interested in finding out how to become a VBRV trainer please see the BCT training web pages.
Useful licensing and Natural England volunteering documents and web links
- COVID-19 and interacting with wildlife for the purposes surveying and mitigation works - Natural England issued guidance from Defra covering field work (inc. entering bat roosts and handling bats) published 28 May 2020.
- Summary of Bat Advice Service Contract (including who does what within the contract and the activities that are included under the scope of the contract) updated February 2020
- Operational Health & Safety for Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors v4 (December 2019)
- Bat licensing pages
- Possession licences (note you will need a possession licence if you have a bat in care for six months or more; or if you wish to keep dead specimens)
- GOV.UK general bat pages
- Getting involved with volunteering for Natural England
- Support directory for volunteers with Natural England
- Natural England Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor pages*
- Publications for VBRVs (leaflets, guidance & technical information notes)
- Bat Workers Manual (JNCC website. This is an essential tool for training as a VBRV, however for current Health & Safety instruction please see Operational Health & Safety Guidance for VBRVs v4 December 2019).
- Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor training pages* (including details of how to register for the Natural England Skillport and access online training for existing VBRVs and Trainees)
- SkillPort (online training for VBRVs, but please note you will need the login details provided by Natural England to access this system)
- SkillPort troubleshooting guide (with tips on accessing the system, tracking progress, etc.)
- Natural England Guidance on Capture & Marking of Bats* (although aimed at holders of survey class licences and project licences, this does include information such as timing of capturing bats and use of hand nets that is relevant for VBRVs)
*Please note these pages have not been transferred to GOV.UK (Natural England licensing and most of the bat related pages were transferred to the GOV.UK website in October 2014) and remain on an archived site as static pages.