Bats, the UK Law, and You!

Bat

Confused on UK Bat Law?

Did you know that bat species and their breeding or resting places are protected by law in the United Kingdom? Normally that’s not a problem for the majority of folks, but when you’re a homeowner and you find them in your house, well, you’ve got a bit of a problem on your hands.

As it stands, you probably don’t want bats in your house. But if you’re planning on removing them for renovations or other work, you should get permission from the planning authority to ensure you’re taking all avenues into consideration and that choices you make won’t harm them.

Where You Typically Find Bats (In Your Home)

You generally find bats in cavity walls, your loft, or inside brickwork, all because they love warm, dark places. And when they’re buried in this areas, which means no building, no timber treatment, and especially no installing insulation. However, it does mean that you should contact the local Statutory Nature Conservation Organization (SNCO) for FREE advice on what to do.

 Why They’re Coming Inside

 Like many animals around the world, their natural habitats are being destroyed. That means that with each new clearing of woodland, you’ll see a dramatic rise of bats in urban areas. Without this woodland, they’ve adapted to living in buildings and now rely on these for roosting.

You should also know that bats do not build nests, nor are they as dirty as people make them out to be. They do eat tons of insects, which is a great natural pest control, but fear not, they move in and get out as quickly as the seasons change.

 Home activities that can affect bats include:

  • Renovating, converting or demolishing a building
  • Cutting down or removing branches from a mature tree
  • Repairing or replacing a roof
  • Insulating or converting a loft
  • Installing lighting in a roost, or outside if it lights up the entrance to the roost
  • Removing commuting habitats such as hedgerows, watercourses, or woodland
  • Changing or removing their foraging areas

If you do decide to make renovations, or you simply find a bat in the house, you have to know what the law states and how it pertains to you. Never go out of your way to damage or destroy a breeding or resting place; never obstruct areas that give them access to their home—yep, this is a law, too—and never sell, trade, or possess dead parts.

Bats may not be the most ideal roommate, but if you care for them for the time being, then hire a professional to come out and pick them up, you’re guaranteed to always be in the right when it comes to your renovations.

Protect yourself; protect the bats; follow UK law.

Still confused about UK Bat Law and your building? Contact us for advice.

Thinking about a Home Survey? See our write up and reviews.

Resources

UK Government advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bats-protection-surveys-and-licences

Advice for developers: https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/buildings-planning-and-development/building-or-development-works/planning-and-the-law

SNCOS: https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/biodiversity-policy-advocacy/government-bodies-sncos

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