Species Action Plan for the Serotine Bat in Surrey (draft)

Introduction

The following document is the second draft of a species action plan for the serotine bat in Surrey. It is shown here for the benefit of members of the bat group and interested parties for them to read and comment upon. At present it's contents are entirely aspirational and discussions have been held with only some of the agencies listed under the heading "Proposed Action."

Current Status

Within the south east of Britain generally, and in Surrey in particular, there is a growing feeling that our population of larger bats, especially the serotine, is in a steep decline. The serotine is known to be the only British bat that is almost entirely dependent upon buildings for roosting, and as such it is particularly vulnerable to disturbance and persecution, through ignorance or fear.

In the UK Action Plan for Bats (Hutson, A.M., 1993. Action Plan for the Conservation of Bats in the United Kingdom. BCT, London) the serotine is listed as having a restricted distribution and frequent status, while the same publication gives its IUCN status as vulnerable.

All British bats, including the serotine, are protected under a variety of national and international laws and treaties, most notably:

International

National

 

Current Factors Causing Loss or Decline

Loss of suitable feeding habitats through changes in land use, such as hedgerow removal and reductions in dairy farming.

Shortages of food at critical times of the year because of the impact of modern agricultural practices on populations of larger beetle species.

Loss of maternity roosts as a result of exclusion, disturbance or destruction of roosts.

Mortality as a direct result of timber treatments in domestic roof spaces.

Current Action

The serotine is one of the species being monitored by the DETR-sponsored National Bat Monitoring Programme.

Records for all bat species including the serotine are collated by the Surrey Bat Group using data supplied largely by its own members. These data include records of roosts, field sightings, and injured bats.

The Surrey Bat Group has organised a wide ranging series of talks covering many aspects of bat conservation and biology, including some specifically concerned with the serotine. Bat group members have also given talks to other groups within the county aimed at promoting a better understanding of bats and their requirements.

English Nature provide statutory advice, with support from bat group members, to protect all bats and their roosts.

 

Action Plan Objectives and Targets

  1. To maintain and then increase population levels by 20%.           YEAR: 2006
  2. To re-visit all known serotine roost sites to try and establish baseline data on the Surrey population.                                                           YEAR: 2002
  3. To raise the profile of the serotine bat within the county and specifically in the immediate vicinity of known roost sites.                             YEAR: 2003
  4. To identify and conserve significant feeding habitat for the species within the county.                                                                                    YEAR: ongoing
  5. To identify and conserve roosting sites for the species.  YEAR: ongoing

 

 

 

Proposed Action With Lead Agencies

 

Proposed Action

Objectives

Lead Agencies

Policy and legislation

 

 

Ensure LAs implement PPG9 in respect of bats and their habitats, by monitoring planning applications and surveying where appropriate to ensure protection of roosts and foraging habitat.

1, 4, 5

LAs, EN, SBG, SWT.

Ensure the needs of serotines are considered in local plans, LEAPs and plans of other statutory bodies.

1, 4, 5

LAs, EA, SBG

Consider obligations of Habitats and Species Directive, and Bern and Bonn Conventions to develop appropriate policies on wider habitat conservation for serotines.

1, 4

LAs, EN, FA

Investigate the effect of incentive schemes in preserving foraging habitat e.g. Countryside Stewardship, Woodland Grant Scheme, Set-aside.

1, 4

MAFF, FA, LAs, FWAG, SWT

Promote use of safe methods for timber treatment including the use of least toxic chemicals through COSHH regulations.

1, 5

SBG, EN, BCT.

Site Safeguard and Management

 

 

Encourage acceptance and understanding of existing roosts by their owners and site managers.

1, 3, 5

EN, SBG, SWT, LAs

Identify and protect all roosts.

1, 5

SBG, EN

Provide guidance on positive management of roosts and foraging habitat.

1, 4, 5

SBG, EN, SWT

Advisory

 

 

Develop guidelines to help local authorities identify planning applications that could put serotines or their foraging habitats at risk.

1, 4, 5

SBG, SWT, LAs

Liaise with landowners and managers to alert them to importance of roosts and foraging areas, and ensure that management advice is available.

1, 4, 5

SBG, FA, EN, FWAG, NT

Future research and monitoring

 

 

Ensure data handling and storage is effective.

2

SBG

Increase survey and monitoring of local bat population to improve accuracy of existing data.

2

SBG

Identify local habitat requirements for roosting and foraging.

1, 4, 5

SBG

Appeal to public for identification of roosts.

1, 3, 5

SBG, SWT, BCT

Identify areas for future research.

1, 5

SBG, EN, BCT

Communications and publicity

 

 

Maintain and enhance a programme of publicity and education for local authorities and building trades.

1,

SBG, BCT, EN

Appeal to public for identification of roosts.

1, 3, 5

SBG, SWT, BCT

Publicise the plight of the serotine in the local media.

3

SWT, SBG, LAs

 

 

Abbreviations Used

BCT                Bat Conservation Trust

DETR             Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions      

EA                   Environment Agency

EN                   English Nature          

FA                   Forestry Authority

FWAG                        Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group

LAs                 Local Authorities

LEAPs            Local Environmental Action Plans

MAFF             Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

NBMP             National Bat Monitoring Programme

NT                   National Trust

SBG                Surrey Bat Group

SWT               Surrey Wildlife Trust



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