Many areas of the UK have disused mine adits, shafts, and caves, some of which are near to areas which are being developed or re-developed. Some areas with underground sites are classified as brownfield sites and contain old industrial buildings which are unsafe and/or partially underground, and sometimes culvert tunnels or bridges require structural or maintenance works. Occasionally, surveys of underground sites are carried out for research purposes. Underground sites and sea caves are potentially good bat roost sites and bat surveys may need to be carried out in order to comply with European and UK wildlife legislation if proposed works are likely to disturb, damage or destroy a potential roost site or habitat near to an important roost site. Access to such sites is often difficult and hazardous, and as such a high level of expertise is necessary in order to carry out robust surveys.
GreenaEco often uses logging systems in mines and caves to determine long term activity levels, but it is usually essential to gain access to the underground site and use fibre scopes and video fibre scopes to make an accurate assessment of a sites’ true level of importance for bats.
Underground and Confined Spaces Surveys
As part of health and safety regulations, many mines and cave entrances may need to be blocked or grilled when public access is an issue. A bat survey will be required prior to this action in order to design a suitable grill or to avoid bats becoming trapped inside or excluded. Occasionally tunnels and culverts will need inspection as survey as part of infrastructure projects.
Geoff Billington was a member of a North Yorkshire Cave Rescue organisation as well as Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue team. GreenaEco has three staff qualified to work in confined spaces. Greena Ecological Consultancy carried out the first major bat survey of underground sites in Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire, and North Yorkshire. In addition, surveys of underground sites co-ordinated and led by Geoff were conducted in Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, Galway, Claire, Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Donegal, Fermanagh, Cavan and Antrim. Surveys of disused mines and caves have been carried out in the Isle of Man, Suffolk, Devon, Cornwall, Fife, Gwyneth, and the Midi Pyrenees, France.
Data loggers are often installed and monitored by GreenaEco, and can be used in certain types of underground sites in order to monitor bat activity, typically for studies of bat populations over longer periods of time.
Cliff Access or Quarry Surveys
Accessing potential roost sites within cliffs involve highly skilled survey techniques and are typically used to gather information on bat colonies, often for research purposes. Greena Eco have surveyed sea cliff caves for bats in Pembrokeshire and Devon. Some of these could only be accessed by boat and then using ropes and harness. Greater Horseshoe bats that were found were ringed in order to gain information about the summer roost and hibernation roost connections, and distances between them.
Boat Access Surveys
Two members of GreenaEco staff hold Level 2 Boat Handling certificates, to survey areas with large waterbodies. For example, radio tracking to find roost sites was carried out by boat and plane on and over some of the Norfolk Broads. This area was classified as difficult to access due to the large water bodies and wetland areas, coupled with multiple land ownership and access issues. Surveys for bats on islands within inland lakes with trees have also been successfully carried out by boat.
If you need bat surveys of sites that have difficult access for development or research purposes, then please go to the Quotes page.