New British Standard to cover surveying trees for bats

Bat in woodland - image:Steve Brace
Bat in woodland - image:Steve Brace

A new British Standard BS8596, covering the surveying of trees and woodland for bats, is expected to come inte effect next year.

"There is a lot of piecemeal guidance from different organisations, with no particular one being definitive," arborist Patrick Stileman, who is preparing the document, told the Arboricultural Association conference on Monday 9 September.

"The new standard will bring these together into a single document that will carry greater weight, but it won't be any more onerous."

It will explain:

  • under what circumstances a bat survey should be undertaken;
  • when this should lead to site assessment by an expert;
  • what to do in "emergencies" including trees with a high risk of failure;
  • what sort of records to keep in each case.

"Little survey work is likely to be required where the trees concerned have few features likely to provide bat roosts," he explained.

The draft standard will be made available for consultation next spring, Stileman added, with a definitive version due to be published in the autumn.

For those wishing to know more about identifying potential bat sites, he recommended Bat Tree Habitat Key (2nd edition), published by Andrews Ecology and available free from its website.

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