Bat populations have plummeted in recent times, leading to them being added to the European Protected Species List in 1991.
But why are bats protected species in the UK?
It turns out that the loss of roosting sites, reduction in foraging habitats and fragmented commuting routes, combined with the naturally slow breeding of bats have left the species at serious risk of extinction.
In England and Wales, bat conservation laws have existed since 1981 with the Wildlife & Countryside Act. As of 2017, there are 4 pieces of legislation that are relevant to the conservation of bat roosts.
- Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)
- Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000)
- Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006)
- Conservation of Habitats and Species (2010)
Bat roosts are a serious matter
This is demonstrated by the penalty convictions associated with failure to comply with these laws including 6 months in prison, unlimited fines and the confiscation of any profits made as a consequence of not following the laws or items used to commit the crimes (such as vehicles and machinery).
When it comes to property/household ownership, there are several groups that should take bat conservation legislation into consideration.
- Property and household owners
- Pest controllers
- Architects, builders, roofers and property developers
- Demolition companies
So how does this affect building regulations?
If there were evidence of a bat roost on a property, the Local Planning Authority would expect to be notified and request that a bat survey be conducted. The results of the survey will be considered in granting planning permission.
A bat conservation plan may be recommended by an ecologist as a condition in order for the planning permission application to be successful.
We’ll look at how you can fulfil these conditions with bat roost conservation solutions in another post.
How to avoid breaking bat protection laws
- Don't deliberately move, kill or injure a bat.
- Don't intentionally disturb a bat roost or group of bats.
- Don't damage a breeding or resting area for bats.
- Don't obstruct access to a bat roost.
- Don't advertise, sell or exchange any wild bat species.
What can you do about it?
Renovating or converting a building is listed as one of the activities that can harm bats and bat habitats.
In most cases, you should be able to avoid harming bats and their habitats.
But you'll need an expert to do a bat survey.
Use this directory to find a registered expert near you: Bat Survey Directory.
One of the options the survey will recommend is bat access tiles.
What are bat access tiles?
Bat access tiles replace roof tiles or slates and allow access for bats into the roof space or batten cavity.
They can be produced in lead or slate.
At Beddoes Products we manufacture bat access tiles using real slate in the two standard sizes: 24 x 12 inch and 20 x 10 inch.
For more information or to buy online from Beddoes Products, click here: Bat Access Slate.
You can also make your own bat access slate with our Bat Access Tile Kit.