Bat licences for surveys and conservation work

If bats are present you will need a licence if you plan to:

  • carry out any kind of research or surveying work
  • disturb or handle bats
  • damage or obstruct access to a breeding or resting place

Apply for a licence

If you want to apply for a survey licence and have not had one before, you will need to show that you have the necessary training and experience. You will need to submit your completed licence and training logbook proforma with your survey and conservation licence application form.

We can also issue licences for ringing or marking, including:

  • fitting rings
  • radio-tracking tags
  • capture using harp traps and mist nets

Licences will be issued for specific sites and are for a limited period. Licensing these more invasive techniques requires a detailed scientific project method statement.

Photographing and filming bats

You must apply for a licence if you are disturbing bats or entering bat roosts to take photos or to film bats.

We only grant licences where there is a clear need for the photographs or filming to take place.

Only experienced photographers who can demonstrate that they can cause minimal disturbance to bats will be granted a licence.

Professional photographers and filmmakers must name a bat consultant or volunteer bat worker on their licence application. The bat consultant or volunteer will advise you if you have the necessary experience or training.

It is not necessary for consultants to photograph bats in roosts to demonstrate their presence in survey reports.

When you don’t need a licence to photograph bats

A licence to photograph or film bats is not required if the photography causes no extra disturbance, for example:

  • non-flash photography in roosts while bats are present as part of a licensed survey and if using only natural light or low-level artificial light
  • flash photography in roosts and hibernacula if bats are not present
  • photography of bats caught in traps during licensed survey work
  • flash photography of individual or groups of bats for identification purposes. Where the licensed surveyor considers that this will cause less disturbance than handling or prolonged illumination of bats
  • photographing of filming of bats outside roosts where no additional lighting is used, or only infra-red illumination is used

Renew your licence

You can renew your survey licence using the survey licence reporting and renewal application form.

Report your activities on a licence

You will need to submit a report on the activities you have done under your licence and send it with your renewal application to our species team.

Amend your licence

You can ask for amendments to your licence using the survey licence amendment request form.

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