Statutory guidance

Bats: survey or research level 3 licence (CL19)

Register for a licence to survey bats using mist nets and acoustic lures for research, conservation or development projects.

Applies to England

Documents

Details

This licence allows you to disturb or capture bats by hand or using:

  • static hand-held nets
  • mist nets for development surveys (used for a maximum of 3 days at any one site)
  • acoustic lures
  • endoscopes
  • torches

You need a:

For survey, research or conservation work not covered by this licence you must apply for either:

You can disturb but not handle hibernating bats.

You must release all bats at the place where they were captured immediately they’re examined.

Register with Natural England

Before you can use this licence, you must register with Natural England using the registration form for a class licence.

What you need to pay

It costs £80 to register for a new CL19 licence.

It costs £35 a year to continue your registration.

You must declare the intended use of the licence on your registration form. To continue your registration, you must declare how you used the licence in the past year on your annual survey return form. This will determine if you need to pay, such as to survey bats for development projects.

Natural England will refund unsuccessful applications.

When you do not need to pay

You do not need to pay if the licence is only used for:

  • voluntary purposes - any work you do is unpaid and you are registered with an organisation, charity or local recording group as a volunteer
  • conservation, science or research purposes and research related to the protected species is carried out by a student or employee of an academic institution or research body

How to pay

You can pay using a bank card. Follow the GOV.UK Pay link on the registration form or survey return form.

Read the terms and conditions for paying for a wildlife licence.

References

You need to complete a reference to support a survey or research licence form when you register for this licence if you:

  • have not held a licence for the species or a similar species for the last 3 years
  • have a licence but want to add new methods

Report action taken

You must complete the survey return form by 30 June each year, even if you’ve taken no action or did not find target species.

You should only complete and submit a survey return form between 1 and 30 June. If you need to submit it outside these dates (for exceptional reasons only) email wildlife.scicons@naturalengland.org.uk

You must report your actions from 1 June to 31 May. You must list all surveys carried out under this licence where you found bats. For each survey, you must record:

  • the bat species found
  • survey location - include the 10 figure Ordnance Survey grid reference, site name, county and postcode (where available)
  • date of survey
  • visit type and roost type
  • number of bats observed or captured
  • the purpose of your survey

You can also record additional information such as:

  • the sex and age of bats found
  • methods used for that survey
  • notes on the survey site

You’ll also need to give:

  • the names of accredited agents who worked under your licence
  • whether you followed best practice when using the licence

You must also send your results to the Local Record Centre. You can do this by recording your results on the iRecord website or contacting the Local Record Centre.

Continue your licence registration

Use the survey return form to continue your registration to use this licence.

You will need to pay £35 each year to continue your registration, unless you are exempt.

Published 6 October 2014
Last updated 1 January 2023 + show all updates
  1. Annual licence update, valid from 1 January 2023.

  2. Page updated: You should only complete and submit a survey return form between 1 and 30 June. If you need to submit it outside these dates (for exceptional reasons only) email wildlife.scicons@naturalengland.org.uk

  3. Added a new online form - 'Submit a survey return and continue your registration'. From 1 June 2022, you will need to use the new online form to submit your survey return and continue your registration.

  4. Annual licence update, valid from 1 January 2022.

  5. From 1 October 2021, you will need to pay £80 to register for this licence, unless you're exempt.

  6. Annual licence update.

  7. Accessible version of licence added - HTML.

  8. Licence has been amended to state that reports of action taken must now be returned by 30 June each year.

  9. Reports of action taken must now be returned by 30 June each year (was 30 April).

  10. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2020

  11. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2019

  12. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2018.

  13. Annual licence update 2017.

  14. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2016.

  15. Added updated version of licence: overview section updated to make it clearer when mist nets can be used.

  16. new version of CL19 valid from 1 January to 31 December 2015.

  17. First published.