In January 2018, North Somerset Council adopted the ‘North Somerset and Mendip Bats Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Guidance on Development: Supplementary Planning Document’ (SPD). The SAC is designated for its importance for greater and lesser horseshoe bats.
The SPD focuses on the landscapes surrounding the SAC as they are important in providing foraging habitat needed to maintain the favourable conservation status of the horseshoe bats.
Key points of the SPD include:
- Defined ‘Bat Consultation Zones’ (BCZ);
- Within the BCZ, developers must employ a consultant ecologist at an early stage to identify and assess any impacts;
- Early engagement with the local authority and/or NE;
- Safeguarding green fields within 0.6km or1km of SAC maternity roosts, depending on the bat species;
- Defined survey effort within the BCZs;
- Careful mitigation and design, including consideration of lighting.
The guidance also applies to applications for development to Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor and Mendip District Councils, although it has not currently been adopted within a SPD in these areas.
Please contact us on 01225 876990 to discuss how we can assist with consultation, surveys, scheme design and assessment in these areas.