Covid-19 advice for NBMP

The BCT are regularly updating the advice for National Bat Monitoring Program Volunteers.   Please check for the latest update NBMP on the BCT website.


Advice updated 12th June 2020

Bat monitoring activities are currently restricted in order to comply with government guidance on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic

In these difficult times the health and well-being of our volunteers is our top priority. It is vital that we follow the latest government instructions to help control the spread of the virus. Government instructions vary across the UK so it is important that you refer to the guidance specific to the country you live in. Below we set out our current position on taking part in NBMP surveys and how this applies within each country.

Reduction in survey coverage this year

Please be reassured that the NBMP is a long-term monitoring scheme; reduced survey coverage in any one year is not detrimental to the long-term value of your surveys. Thank you for your continued commitment to the NBMP.

Our current position is as follows:

You may take part in NBMP surveys, provided you follow government instructions for England, and our survey-specific guidelines belowYou 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.

Survey-specific guidance

Below we outline our current guidance for taking part in specific NBMP surveys and training this year. We will keep the situation under review and will release updated guidance in accordance with government instructions as the situation evolves. If you have any questions please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk.

Sunset/Sunrise Survey (April-Sept)

This survey must only be carried out at home, looking out for bats and other nocturnal wildlife in your own garden (or from your window or balcony). Please do not leave your own property to undertake this survey or invite people from outside your household to take part in the survey with you.

National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project (May-October)

This survey is currently suspended. We will review this again ahead of the late summer/autumn survey period and provide updated information to participating bat groups.

Roost Count (mostly June)

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.

If you count a bat roost at your own house then you will be able to 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 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.
  • Do not use public transport to travel to your Roost Count site.
  • It is strongly recommended 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.

Field Survey (July) / Waterway survey (August) / Woodland Survey (July to September)

Limited surveying can be carried out as long as the following requirements are met:

  • Please do not carry out your surveys if you or anyone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • 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 only visit your survey square if is an area you know well and you are certain that you will be able to maintain social distancing while travelling to and walking your transect (when doing your daytime recce and also when carrying out your surveys). Please complete a risk assessment to help you ascertain this (see the risk assessment template in your survey pack).
  • If you have any uncertainty about being able to maintain social distancing at all times then please do not survey the site this year.
  • Please liaise with the land owner(s) to ask if they have any concerns about you visiting their land this year, and please respect their wishes.
  • Do not use public transport to travel to your survey site.
  • It is strongly recommended 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 risk assessment template in your survey pack).
  • Please ensure you maintain social distancing with anybody you encounter while travelling to/from the site or while carrying out the survey.
  • If your spot counts involve standing in a location where social distancing from other people does not prove to be possible (i.e. passers-by cannot easily walk around you leaving at least a 2 metre gap), then omit this spot when carrying out the survey and tick “spot not surveyed” when entering your data online.
  • If this would involve omitting more than five spot counts from your survey do not undertake your survey, as we will not be able to use your data in our trend calculations.
  • Where possible please do not share equipment.

NBMP bat detector workshops

We are running training workshops online. Details can be found at https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/workshops

 

 


Previous advice issued 29th May 2020

The current BCT advice for Somerset (and all England) is as follows:

Bat monitoring activities are currently restricted in order to comply with government guidance on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic

In these difficult times the health and well-being of our volunteers is our top priority. It is vital that we follow the latest government instructions to help control the spread of the virus. Government instructions vary across the UK so it is important that you refer to the guidance specific to the country you live in. Below we set out our current position on taking part in NBMP surveys and how this applies within each country.

Reduction in survey coverage this year

Please be reassured that the NBMP is a long-term monitoring scheme; reduced survey coverage in any one year is not detrimental to the long-term value of your surveys. Thank you for your continued commitment to the NBMP.

Our current position is as follows:

You may take part in NBMP surveys as detailed below, provided you follow government instructions for EnglandYou 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.

Survey-specific guidance

Below we outline our current guidance for taking part in specific NBMP surveys and training this year. We will keep the situation under review and will release updated guidance in accordance with government instructions as the situation evolves. If you have any questions please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk.

Sunset/Sunrise Survey (April-Sept)

This survey must only be carried out at home, looking out for bats and other nocturnal wildlife in your own garden (or from your window or balcony), and only with members of your own household – do not invite other people to your home to participate. Please do not leave your own property to undertake this survey.

National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project (May-October)

This survey is currently suspended. We will review this again ahead of the late summer/autumn survey period and provide updated information to participating bat groups.

Roost Count (mostly June)

If you count a bat roost at your own house then you will be able to carry out your counts as usual, though you should not invite anyone from outside your own household to assist.

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 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 liaise with the roost owner to ask if they have any concerns about you visiting the roost this year, and please respect their wishes. Please do not enter the roost owner’s house or garden. If they are willing to allow a count to go ahead make it clear that you will need to be alone (with your buddy) in the area in which the counts are carried out.
  • Do not use public transport to travel to your Roost Count site.
  • Please ensure 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 is not possible under social distancing.
  • If your site requires multiple surveyors to enable a count to be made (e.g. due to multiple entrances) this site will not able to be monitored this year unless all surveyors are from the same household.
  • Please ensure you maintain social distancing with anybody else you encounter while travelling to/from the roost or while carrying out the survey.

Field Survey (July) / Waterway survey (August) / Woodland Survey (July to September)

Limited surveying can be carried out as long as the following requirements are met:

  • Please do not carry out your surveys if you or anyone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • 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 only survey a site if it is one you have surveyed previously (we are stipulating this to minimise uncertainty about being able to maintain social distancing while walking your transect).
  • Please liaise with the land owner(s) to ask if they have any concerns about you visiting their land this year, and please respect their wishes. Please do not enter the land owner’s house or garden.
  • Do not use public transport to travel to your survey site.
  • Please ensure 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 is not possible under social distancing.
  • Please ensure you maintain social distancing with anybody you encounter while travelling to/from the site or while carrying out the survey.
  • If it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times when walking your transect then do not survey the site this year.
  • If your spot counts involve standing in a location where social distancing from other people is not possible (i.e. passers-by cannot easily walk around you leaving at least a 2 metre gap), then omit this spot when carrying out the survey and tick “spot not surveyed” when entering your data online.
  • If this would involve omitting more than five spot counts from your survey do not undertake your survey, as we will not be able to use your data in our trend calculations.

 


NBMP bat detector workshops

We are running training workshops online. Details can be found at https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/workshops

 

 


Previous superseded advice from late March 2020

All Bat monitoring activities away from your house are suspended until further notice.

In the current challenging situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we hope that everyone is coping and keeping well. In these difficult times the health and well-being of our volunteers is our priority. It is vital that we follow the latest government instructions to remain at home, protect the NHS and save lives. These essential restrictions will limit our ability to go out and experience wildlife, and this will include participation in NBMP surveys. However, why not use the time hone your skills with the online bat survey training on the NBMP website, or if you have a garden, use the time to more closely appreciate the wildlife there?

Our current position is as follows:

  • Do not leave your home to undertake any NBMP survey activities (this includes pre-survey activities such as visiting sites to do daytime recces or meet with land or property owners).
  • Some NBMP surveys can be conducted from within your home, for example some roost counts and sunset/sunrise surveys conducted from your garden. It is currently ok to continue with these so long as you always obey the latest government instructions.
  • Please be reassured that the NBMP is a long-term monitoring scheme; reduced survey coverage in any one year is not detrimental to the long-term value of your surveys. Thank you for your continued commitment to the NBMP.
  • Below we outline our current guidance for taking part in specific NBMP surveys and training this year. We will keep the situation under review and will release updated guidance in accordance with government instructions as the situation evolves. If you have any questions please contact us at nbmp@bats.org.uk

SUNSET/SUNRISE SURVEY (STARTS APRIL)

  • This survey must only be carried out at home, looking out for bats and other nocturnal wildlife in your own garden, and only with members of your own household – do not invite other people to participate.
  • Please do not leave your own property to undertake this survey.

NATIONAL NATHUSIUS’ PIPISTRELLE PROJECT (STARTS MAY)

  • Under current restrictions this survey would not be able to go ahead.
  • Participating bat groups should await further advice from us before planning any survey activities that involve travel away from the home.

ROOST COUNT (JUNE – FOR MOST SPECIES)

  • If you count a bat roost at your own house then it is currently expected that you will be able to carry out your counts as usual, though you should not invite anyone from outside your own household to assist.
  • If you count a bat roost away from your own home, please await further guidance from us before planning survey activities, and do not carry out the survey until further notice. You may wish to touch base with the roost owner (via phone or email) about the current restrictions.

FIELD SURVEY (JULY) / WATERWAY SURVEY (AUGUST) / WOODLAND SURVEY (JULY TO SEPTEMBER)

  • Please await further guidance from us before planning survey activities, and do not carry out the survey until further notice.
  • Our current position is not to travel from home to undertake any survey activities, including preliminary site visits, e.g. to carry out your daytime recce or meet up with the landowner.
  • We will keep this under review and update you if government instructions change.

NBMP BAT DETECTOR WORKSHOPS

  • All bat detector training workshops have been postponed.
  • We are exploring running some online training sessions in May/June. We will share details of these once they are finalised.

Thank you for your continued support for the NBMP. The team at BCT are currently working from home and therefore we are still available to contact by phone and email should you have any questions or concerns. We will keep you updated should the government guidance change.

Please stay safe.

NBMP Team, Bat Conservation Trust, Email: nbmp@bats.org.uk