Discovering bats in your loft can be an exciting and unique experience. However, it’s important to remember that bats are protected species in the UK, and their removal is subject to legal regulations. In this blog, we will explore the guidelines surrounding bats in your property and provide information on how to handle the situation responsibly.
Understanding the Law:
Bats and their roosts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. These laws make it illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb, injure or kill bats or to damage or destroy their roosts.
Identifying the Species:
The first step is to determine the species of bats in your loft. There are 18 species of bats in the UK, and each has different roosting habits and legal protections. It is advisable to contact a bat conservation organisation or a licensed bat ecologist to help identify the species and provide guidance.
Assessing the Situation:
Once you have identified the species, it’s important to assess the situation in your property. Consider the following factors:
1. Timing: Bats are most active during the summer months when they are rearing their young. Disturbing them during this period can cause harm and is strictly prohibited.
2. Roost Size: If the roost is small, with only a few bats, it may be possible to coexist with them by taking appropriate measures to minimise disturbance.
3. Health and Safety: If the presence of bats poses a risk to your health and safety, such as causing structural damage or creating a fire hazard, it may be necessary to take action. However, this should be done in consultation with the appropriate authorities.
Seeking Professional Advice:
To ensure compliance with the law and the welfare of the bats, it is strongly recommended to seek professional advice from a licensed bat ecologist or a bat conservation organisation. They can provide guidance on the best course of action, including:
1. Obtaining a License: If it is determined that the bats need to be removed, a license may be required. Licensed bat workers can apply for a license on your behalf, outlining the reasons for removal and proposing appropriate mitigation measures.
2. Alternative Roosts: Creating alternative roosting opportunities nearby, such as bat boxes or bat-friendly features, can help mitigate the impact of removing bats from your property.
3. Conservation Measures: Bats are protected for a reason, as they play a vital role in ecosystems. Professionals can advise on conservation measures to enhance the local bat population, such as planting native plants or providing water sources.
While it may be tempting to remove bats from your loft or any other part of your property, it is essential to understand and respect their protected status. Bats are valuable and fascinating creatures that contribute to our environment. If you have bats in your property, consult with bat conservation organisations or licensed bat ecologists to ensure you handle the situation responsibly and in compliance with the law. By taking the right steps, you can coexist with these remarkable creatures and contribute to their conservation efforts.