Bat Low Impact Licence updates
Natural England have replaced the Bat Low Impact Class Licence (BLICL) with the Bat Mitigation Class Licence (BMCL). Despite the removal of the words “Low Impact”, the new BMCL is, in effect, a low impact class licence. We are pleased to say that we are registered to offer the new BMCL.
There have been some minor changes and clarifications. There are even some good ones! One of these is that we are now able to use “Accredited Agents” for the licensable works. Therefore it is no longer just the registered consultant ecologist who can, for example, remove low numbers of bats; he / she can approve an Accredited Agent for this task, providing they meet the set criteria of experience and qualifications. This frees up the more qualified ecologists from long hours on site, and means that as a consultancy, we can take on more licenses.
Another welcome change is clarification of what comprises a roost. The BLICL and BMCL both have a set limit of 3 roosts which can be covered on one site. This has been infuriating, as the number of day roosts does not equate to ecological significance. For example, we may have 2 roosts each with 5 non-breeding bats – this would qualify for the low impact licence – whereas another site with 5 roosts, each with one bat, does not qualify. While we would prefer that Natural England would lift this restiction entirely and leave it to the consultant to decide on signifance rather than setting an arbitrary number of three, what they have done is to widen the definition of a roost. We can now say that if there are, for example, a single species of bat using six different crevices in one barn, this is ONE roost rather than six. Therefore we will be able t0 use the BMCL in more situations, avoiding having to use the more expensive and time-consuming full European Protected Species Licence (EPSL) where the impact remains low. Lets hope that NE will continue to relax regualtions surrounding low numbers of common species, maybe even one day re-inserting the word “significant” into the legislation again, so that we can avoid having to get a licence at all when the impact of a development is not significant to the species.
Thats all for now. Happy 2019!