Barn Owls are listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), making it an offence to disturb this species while breeding. Breeding takes place in trees, nestboxes, and buildings, making this widespread species a frequent occurrence on proposed and in-progress developments. Barn conversions provide prime examples of this.
A barn owl survey should be undertaken by a licensed surveyor, enabling them to legally disturb breeding barn owls for the purpose of assessing potential development impacts. This survey can be applied to both large and small scale developments, usually those containing veteran trees, barn owl boxes or agricultural buildings in a rural setting.
If breeding or roosting barn owls are present, mitigation is usually straightforward through the use of compensatory nest boxes or integrated roosting and breeding areas within new or renovated buildings.