Earned Recognition

CIEEM is working with Natural England and the Bat Conservation Trust on the development of a new transformative approach to licensing mitigation work in England that impacts on bats. This approach is known as Earned Recognition.

Why bats?

Applications for licences involving bats and bat roosts are by far the highest proportion of mitigation licence applications received by Natural England and numbers are increasing year on year. The vast majority are lower risk situations but they still need to be licensed which requires time, effort and cost on the part of the developer, the consultant and Natural England. This reduces the resources available for monitoring, enforcement and drawing together the evidence base for the effectiveness of mitigation. Natural England’s resources to put into licensing are stretched and a more streamlined approach would have benefits for everyone.

We believe that an accreditation system would help to improve standards of bat mitigation and lead to better outcomes for bat conservation.

Earned Recognition

Earned Recognition works on the basis of assessing and accrediting a consultant’s competence in undertaking survey work and designing effective mitigation so that, by using an accredited consultant, developers can experience a more streamlined licensing process for their scheme or project. There are different competency requirements based on the level of accreditation applied for which, in turn, relates to the degree of risk to bats and bat roosts from the projects that the accredited consultant will be able to work on. Quite simply, consultants who work on projects that involve higher risks to bats will require a higher level of accreditation that involves demonstrating a higher level of competence.

Update  16/1/23/11/22

Bat Earned Recognition (ER) Beta Candidates now selected

Natural England (NE) and its partners confirm that, following the recent call for applications (closed 31 December 2022), it received 186 applications to undertake Bat ER Beta Assessment.

The maximum 150 applicants that are able to be processed during Beta have now been selected and informed.

Assessments will been undertaken throughout February and March 2023.

We would like to thank all that applied for Bat ER Beta and regret that not all applicants could be taken through this round.

If you wish to get in touch with the Partnership, please contact us via the NE Project Team’s mailbox EarnedRecognition.Bat@naturalengland.org.uk


Bat ER Beta is a transition phase between the Bat ER Pilot and expected ER roll out by Natural England. It seeks to build on the success of the Bat ER Pilot and will offer a more streamlined system and improved processes for testing and assessment. These improvements have been informed by feedback received during the pilot as well as full evaluation of the pilot’s performance. The findings of this evaluation demonstrate clear support for the concept of Bat ER, although there is a need for improvements to the processes. The undertaking of the Beta phase is critical to ensuring that the ER processes are fit for purpose and align with internal systems and we are looking at how outcomes for bats can be better evaluated by system improvements.

Click here to view the NERR128 on the Access to Evidence catalogue.

Natural England will be looking to take a further 100-150 candidates through the improved Bat ER Beta assessment process with accreditation testing from midJanuary through to the end of March 2023.

Previously conducted Bat ER pilot Accreditation testing took place from September 2021 – May 2022 and resulted in 57 successfully accredited ER consultants. These consultants are now able to submit Site Registrations under the new Bat ER Class Licence and benefit from streamlined assessments.

Feedback from those already accredited has been positive; many citing speed of process as a clear benefit to their work. Some have even reported an ability to make positive changes to their business model in that a greater range of work is now able to be progressed. Further, Natural England confirms that the majority of consultants currently accredited under the ER pilot will continue to be able to submit site registrations throughout Beta without a need for re-assessment.

All interested applicants must be aware that the window for accreditation testing (16 January 2023 – 31 March 2023) will be strictly maintained and exceptions made only in very exceptional circumstances. This is necessary in order to ensure the completion of accreditations ahead of the new bat season. All ecologists that expressed an interest previously but were not selected for the pilot, or were unsuccessful in completing assessments, are able to re-apply.  Further, all applicants must hold a Natural England Level 2 Survey Licence and be a member of a relevant professional body (currently CIEEM or the Institute of Chartered Foresters [ICF]).

We would like to thank all those that have contributed to the shaping of this important project so far and very much look forward to welcoming the second cohort of candidates on board.

This Frequently Asked Questions document will be helpful to those thinking of applying.

If you wish to get in touch with the Partnership, please contact us via the NE Project Team’s mailbox EarnedRecognition.Bat@naturalengland.org.uk

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