Bats: survey or research licence (level 4) (CL20)

Get a licence to use harp traps and acoustic lures when doing surveys, research or conservation work.


Bats: survey or research licence (level 4) (CL20)

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This licence allows you to disturb or capture bats using:

  • torches
  • endoscopes
  • hand nets
  • static hand-held nets
  • acoustic lures
  • harp traps – for development surveys only (can be used for a maximum of 3 days at any one site)

Different bat licences you may need:

You can disturb but not handle hibernating bats.

All bats must be freed at the place where they were captured immediately after being examined.

Register with Natural England

This is a class licence - you do not need to apply for it but you must register with Natural England using the survey or research protected species form (A34) first.

You do not need to send in this form if you have a personal survey licence for bats.


You usually need to complete a reference 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 return a report of action taken under a bat survey or research licence form no later than 30 April each year, even if you’ve taken no action.

This form is also used to renew your registration.

Published 6 October 2014
Last updated 1 January 2019 + show all updates
  1. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2019
  2. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2018
  3. Annual licence update 2017.
  4. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2016.
  5. Added updated version of licence: overview section changed to make it clearer when you can use harp traps.
  6. new version of CL20 valid from 1 January to 31 December 2015.
  7. First published.