The Bat Group is a consists of a small band of volunteers, and we regret do not have the resources to comment on, or carry out surveys for, individual planning matters. Hence we rely on local residents to help Bats. There is also the additional fact that many of the groups volunteers are also Professional Bat Consultants in their day jobs, and hence we have to avoid conflicts of interest.
Our parent organisation the BCT have produced an excellent Planning Advice Pack, and the best advice we can offer you, is to follow its advice carefully and to spread the information in it to your neighbors, as in planning, numbers do count:
Speaking generally, large developers are now very used to the environmental requirements of planning, and most employ consultancies to carry out Ecological Impact Assessments (EIA), and recommend mitigations. We are lucky in Somerset to have several highly respected ecological consultancies, and hence the quality of assessments and mitigations supplied to planning and their methodology tends to be high, and usually accepted by planning. As a Bat Group we submit all our records to the Somerset Environmental Records Centre, and this data is used by all consultants in their reports, hence the Bat Group will not have additional data to add.
Hence we would suggest careful reading of the EIA, and to focus on adding known facts they may have missed, or local aspect they may have been unaware of. (e.g. Other unrecorded protected species locally they may have missed), when you raise any objections to the Planning proposal.
The other documents to look out for are these key documents:
- Landscape & Ecology Management Plan (LEMP)
- Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)
These are just as important as the EIA, and in particular you should definitely comment on these if they do not meet the recommendations of the EIA.
While developers are now very good at getting environmental concerns past planning, the experience is they are less good at meeting the environmental conditions placed on their planning permission, both during construction, and post construction maintenance. This tends to be where monitoring by local residents, and informing the council (and police as required) of breaches and environmental damage is so important.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Bat Group if we can be of any other help.