In Britain all bats are protected under European law (Habitats and Species Regulations 2010). It is necessary to undertake bat surveys for a number of works, including barn conversions, hotel & housing developments, re-roofing works on churches, chapels and schools, wind farms, bridges and even the domestic garage or extension to your home. If bats are likely to be disturbed then it is the responsibility of the developer to assess the impacts on protected species, including bats before they commence any works.
If you include the almost extinct greater mouse-eared (Myotis Myotis), Britain has 18 species of bat, 17 of which are known to be breeding here. In Cornwall 12 species have been recorded. Bats became a protected species after their numbers started to decline dramatically and even though some species have seen an increase in populations, they still remain a threatened species and all too many of their habitats continue to be destroyed.
- The pipistrelle is the smallest species of Britain’s bats, but can still consume up to 3,000 insects in one night!
- The brown long-eared bat has ears almost as long as its body
- The term ‘as blind as a bat’ is not justified – bats are not blind, but at night their eye sight is generally not as important as their hearing as they use echolocation to hunt prey
- A bat diet consists of moths and other insects.
- Female bats usually only have one baby (pup) a year
What do I do if I suspect bats are using my building or home?
It is important to remember that bats are not rodents or pests – they do not chew wood, wires or insulation, and unlike rats or mice they do not urinate and defecate over surfaces whilst scavenging for food. Therefore do not panic that these little flying mammals are living with you.
It is also important to remember they are protected so under no circumstances should you attempt to disturb them, handle them, move them, injure them or kill them. Bat roosts are also protected, so even if the bats are not present themselves any damage done to a roost (intentionally or unintentionally) is a criminal offence.
I need to do some works to my building/home – what should I do about the bats?
If you live in a residential dwelling and plan to re-roof your property or do other extensive works (i.e. an extension) we recommend you contact the Bat Conservation Trust who will be able to advise the best course of action – you may be intitled to a free of charge bat warden visit – 0845 1300 228.
If however you have a barn, workshop, garage or other outbuilding you plan to do works to, you will need to employ a qualified and licensed bat ecologist to undertake a survey for you. This is normally required as part of your planning application. Please see bat and barn owl assessments for more information or call us on 01872 245510.
I want to install a small wind turbine on my property – do I need a bat survey?
Please visit the following link to determine if your wind turbine propsal requires a bat survey from a suitably qualified and licensed ecologist http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=12898
Useful links about bats
Back to Protected Species Survey