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All British bat species and their roosts are legally protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) because of the dramatic declines in their populations over recent decades. The causes of the declines, which include the loss of suitable roosting sites, are generally the result of human activities.

 

Under section 9 of the Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or capture (apart from for welfare reasons) a bat, and to damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by bats, even when bats are apparently absent, or to disturb bats were asked roosting.

 

Section 10 provides a defence for those carrying out work which may affect that's or their roosts. This can only be relied on however, if English Nature has been consulted over the intended work and been given a reasonable time in which to provide advice.

 

Under section 69, the Directors, Managers and Secretaries or similar persons specifying work to be done are responsible for ensuring that the work is carried out within the law.

 

English Nature should be consulted before any operation is carried out that may affect bats or their roosts, even when the bats are apparently absent. A reasonable time should be allowed for a reply with advice before work is started. The advice will include how best to go about the work to ensure that any disturbance to the bats is kept to a minimum.

 

The presence of a bat roost does not mean that no work can be done on that building it simply means that the timing and how the work is done may need to be adapted. A consultation with English Nature at an early stage is therefore important.

 

British bats are not large creatures and can access their roost through gaps as small as a 50 mm (two inches) by 10 mm. Bats are normally most of fierce during their summer breeding period a (late May to early September) when they might be visible within the roost base or in the Gable end cavity wall. If there are droppings present but no gaps of visible, it may be that the bats are roosting out of sight. It is important to contact English Nature if there is any possibility of a property having a bat roost (the presence of one bad constitutes a bat roost).

 

English Nature works with the volunteers who are generally it members of the local bat group. These people are licensed by English Nature to enter bat roosts and handle them if necessary. When contacted for advice, English Nature will normally arranged for a volunteer to visit the property and reported back to enable the advice given to be accurate and specific to each case.

 

The summer breeding colonies do not gather until mid to late May, and once in residence, they stay for the next few months. Brown long-eared bats often hibernate in roof spaces a over winter. The most common advice when they bat roost is present is for the work to be carried out either in the autumn, between mid-September to mid-October, or in the spring between late April and mid-May.

 

Young bats are dependent on to their mothers until the end of the summer, and normally colonies disperse at this time. Some bats may be present in the roost in both the spring and autumn periods mentioned, particularly in the roof spaces of older houses. It is therefore advisable for a volunteer to check the roost just before work is to be done, when any bat in residents can be carefully removed and held in captivity by the Volunteer until the roof is safe to re-enter. The bats are then returned to the roost, relatively unaffected by captivity by the experience. The bats are then returned to the roost, relatively unaffected by their experience.

It is vital when carrying out roofing treatments that bat-friendly chemicals are used, so that the bats are not poisoned by the residue left once the treatment is completed and tried. A list of bat-friendly chemicals is available from English Nature.

The Brown Long-eared bat is the second most common species in Britain and is found throughout the UK, Ireland and the Isle of Man. It is absent from Orkney and Shetland, and other exposed islands. It is also common and widespread in the rest of Europe, except for southern Spain, southern Italy and Greece.

The Pipistrelle is Britain's smallest bat and our most common species, especially in towns. It is found throughout the UK, including the Isle of Man. It is also abundant and widespread in the rest of Europe.

                                                 Further information can be obtained from:

                             www.english-nature.org.uk

The Bat Conservation Trust
15 Cloisters House
8 Battersea Park Road
London SW8 4BG

Tel: 020 7501 3636 
Fax: 020 7627 2628
www.bats.org.uk/