Residential development approved near bat SAC

Planning consent has been granted for the development of four houses on a site in Combe Down, Bath. The site is adjacent to a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated for its bat interest and in the Green Belt and Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB). Nicholas Pearson Associates provided ecological and landscape advice through the project, including preparing information to inform the Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA).

The site is located in a former quarry which includes vacant industrial buildings, trees and other vegetation typically associated with derelict industrial sites. Ecology surveys were undertaken to determine where Greater and Lesser Horseshoe bats were roosting and their key commuting routes.

Given the strict protection of the horseshoe bats associated with SAC a very careful development design strategy was required to avoid adverse impacts on the integrity of the SAC and maintain the favourable conservation status of the horseshoe bats. This included retaining and enhancing key buildings used as roosts and important habitat corridors. Habitat buffers were also proposed around the site edges to assist with minimising ecological impacts.

The proposed houses were carefully positioned within the site and a lighting strategy avoids unacceptable light spill on key habitats.  Replacement bat roosts are included in the design, and new native tree and shrub planting is proposed.


A Biodiversity Mitigation Plan (BMP) and a Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP) were prepared as part of the planning application setting out how the proposals would be implemented and managed.

An Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) set out how the potential impacts of the development had been avoided and a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) calculation demonstrated that the proposals achieved the required enhancements.

Bath and North East Somerset and Natural England accepted that the proposed development would not lead to unacceptable adverse impacts on the conservation status of key species associated with the SAC. This was of critical importance for achieving a successful planning permission.

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Visuals by kind Permission of Aaron Evans Architects Ltd

Dave has over ten years’ experience as a consultant ecologist and is our Lead Ecologist. He has worked on a wide variety of projects, to which he brings together his problem-solving background in engineering, ability to use AutoCAD and knowledge gained from his masters in Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA).

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