Bats: licences for development

A licence can permit planned development works that might affect bats or their roosts to proceed legally.

NatureScot is responsible for issuing licences to permit development, including major works and minor home repairs, that might affect bats or their roosts. You should apply to us for a licence if your work could otherwise result in an offence in relation to bats.

A licence to permit development can only be granted if you can meet the three strict European protected species licensing tests.

Survey and mitigation

If bats are likely to be present on or near a development site, we strongly recommend that a suitably experienced person conducts a bat survey.

Bats may be present in, for example:

  • a building to be modified or demolished
  • trees that may need to be felled

Planning authorities must consider the same strict tests as the licensing authority when considering any planning application that might affect bats. So it pays to have a survey conducted at an early stage.

The survey information needs to be sufficiently up-to-date when a planning application is submitted. Pre-application bat surveys normally remain valid for two more survey periods, and should be repeated if the application is going to be delayed beyond the start of a third survey period. Unless it is clearly evident that there has been no substantive change in number, distribution or activity of bats since the original survey was undertaken.

Surveys must be carried out in line with the Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists: Good Practice Guidelines.

Where bats, roosts or any other sign of bats are found on or near a development site, a species protection plan must be drawn up.

How to find a licensed bat consultant

You can search the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Registered Practice Directory for licensed bat consultants.

Not all licensed bat consultants are registered with CIEEM, so you may also wish to carry out a general internet search.

You should check that your preferred consultant holds a bat survey licence for Scotland.

How to apply

A protected species licence application for development projects should not be made until the necessary planning permissions and consents are in place.  This should be considered when signing the relevant licence application declaration.

Fill in the application form and email it to [email protected].

Download the Licence application form – works affecting bats

Read the Guidance notes for application for a licence for European protected species

Read the Guidance notes on providing supporting information for a licence for European protected species

If you are a licensed bat consultant and you would like to apply for the Bat Low Impact licence (BLIMP), please read the Licence application - Bat Low Impact Licence (BLIMP) - an ecologist's guide for background and application instructions.

Licence returns

A condition of any licence is that you must submit a licence return to us.

You should submit your return information using our licence return form for works affecting bats. Email us your completed form, giving your name and licence number in the subject line.

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. But check your licence conditions first: you may be able to appoint agents and assistants without having to get them named on your licence.

Find out about adding persons to a licence.

You must also remember to contact us to renew your licence. Licences aren’t renewed automatically.


If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team
Telephone: 01463 725 364
Email: [email protected]

Find out more

Data Protection notice

Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists: Guidance for ecologists on changes relevant to bat surveys for a licence application

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