Image: 62 - The nesting bird season in Britain is nearly over. Now's the time to think about your trees.

During the nesting season, all birds living in a tree are protected. No work can be carried out that would disturb the avian population. Luckily, evidence of birds is easy to spot, so not much special training is needed to assess the risk. However, if in doubt it is always safer to ask a qualified arborist to make sure you stay on the right side of the conservation laws.

Bats are protected during roost and hibernation. Signs of bats are a bit less obvious than birds, so if there is any suspicion of a roost in your tree, please check with us before taking any action.

Brooke Sstated Management follows the best practice guidelines as adopted by many local authorities:
Timing of works

  • To reduce the chance of disturbing a bat roost, it is important to avoid the summer (breeding season) and winter (hibernation) months.
  • Works to trees with potential for bats is best done from late August to early
  • October when young bats are mobile and on the wing, female bats are
  • unlikely to be pregnant and the hibernation season has not yet begun.
  • March to April is also a suitable time, though consideration should also be
  • given for nesting birds as these are also protected by law.
  • Crown pruning and minor tree works can also be completed over the winter
  • months. The removal of potential roost sites during this time should be
  • avoided, as some bat species hibernate in trees.
Best practice methods:
  • Keep tree work to a minimum retaining all potential roosts where possible.
  • A precautionary inspection of the tree(s) by the tree work contractor looking for signs of bats should be carried out before starting work. This should include an inspection of all holes and niches using a torch and preferably an endoscope. If bats or signs of bats are found, no work should start and English Nature should be contacted for further advice.
  • Where possible, avoid cross cutting in proximity to cavities or hollows.
  • Limbs with internal fissures should be pruned carefully to maintain integrity of features as potential roost sites.
  • Any sections felled containing cavities should be lowered carefully and left on the ground (preferably for 24 hours) with the openings clear, allowing anything inside an opportunity to escape.
  • Split limbs that are under tension may need to be wedged open to prevent their closure when pressure is released, potentially trapping bats
If ivy covers areas of a tree's trunk or branches, there is roosting potential behind it. In addition, potential roosts in the tree may also be hidden behind the ivy. Dealing with ivy-covered trees depends on the amount of growth. If there is a thick mass of ivy growth, it may be practical to consider felling the tree on the basis that the thickness of the foliage will soften the fall and reduce the shock. This tree can then be inspected on the ground and if possible left for 24hours, before section cutting. If the tree is only partially covered, pruning or sectioning may be more appropriate. If the works are not urgent, cutting the ivy at its base and completing the work when the ivy is dead, thus reducing the bat roosting potential,l should be considered. However, where stems of ivy create a dense mass against the trunk, there will always be roosting potential.

 
 
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