Skip to main content

Bats: Conservation

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL4020, tabled on 15 November 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have carried out a cost-benefit analysis of bat surveys in planning applications; and, if so, what value they placed on the life of a bat, disaggregated by indigenous species.

Answered on

29 November 2021

This government has committed to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it, underpinned by our target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. Protecting and conserving bat populations, including species like the serotine bat, is an important part of this.

Natural England (NE) has not carried out a cost-benefit analysis of bat surveys in planning applications. However, NE is in the process of evaluating the benefit to bat conservation from actions taken as a result of regulatory work. It is expected that the initial findings will be published in early 2022/23.

NE is currently testing a new approach to bat licensing through the Bat Earned Recognition Pilot. The pilot aims to streamline the licensing process through accrediting ecologists, enabling them to have greater discretion to progress low risk cases, estimated to be up to 90% of all applications. This will reduce costs and delays for customers whilst providing better outcomes for bats. The pilot is well advanced and is currently in the process of accrediting ecologists, with a view to being operational from early in 2022.