Bats & the law
In Britain, bats and their roosts are protected under the
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
and in England and Wales the
CRoW Act 2000.
There are three main areas of protection which means it is illegal to:
- Recklessly kill or injure any bat
- Disturb a bat at roost
- Damage a roost site or obstruct the entrance
It is not illegal though, to remove
bats from the living area of a house or to rescue injured or abandoned bats as
they may be released when recovered.
If bats are unwelcome or should any
work be planned anywhere suspected of housing bats,
Natural England must be consulted.
Work will not necessarily be prevented,
but advice will be given on the least disturbing way of doing it.
Mitigation Guidelines" (pdf,
This document gives generic technical advice on assessing impacts and
developing mitigation plans. These guidelines have been developed to assist those
involved with land-use planning and development operations (in the widest sense)
where bats are known or suspected to occur.
Bats in Churches: a management
guide (pdf, 84Kb).
leaflet is to help those who look after church buildings that are used by bats
to understand their legal obligations. It will be of help to architects, surveyors,
local authority conservation officers, ecologists and Natural England and English
Heritage staff and volunteers.
There is a new report out entitled "Bat
Related Crime" (920Kb, pdf) covering the period from July 2004 to April
2007 published by the BCT.
If you live in Wales, contact
Natural Resources Wales,
Scottish Natural Heritage for Scotland.
The police launched Operation
Bat on 30 June 2004, as the next stage in their initiative to link enforcement
activity more closely with Government conservation objectives. It provides a standard
operating procedure for the police to deal with bat-related offences, and assist
in preventing bat crime.
If you know about any court cases about
bats then the BCT would be
glad to hear from you. With the help of the RSPB
they have set up a Species Protection Database. This helps them to collate data
for the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension and prosecution
of offenders. Your information will help to indicate the level of the problem
and, if necessary, prove that more resources are needed to uphold the law. The
BCT, with support from the RSPB Investigations Unit, is also helping police investigate
a number of suspected cases.