All bat species are legally protected. You risk prison if you intentionally or recklessly disturb them or their roosts.
If bats inhabit a property you intend to work on, you must first commission a report from a suitably qualified ecological specialist. The report has to form part of your planning application. Your proposals will require the approval of Building Control and you’ll also need a European Protected Species Licence before starting any works.
Different species of bat have different requirements that need to be taken into account. There are certain materials you can’t use, and you have to make sure the bats’ roosts have multiple entrances.
In winter, when the roosts are used for hibernation, the roost area needs to be cold; in summer, when the bats are looking after their young, the area needs to be warm. This has an impact on the positioning of insulation and chimney flues. It also means you only have an eight-week window in the year to carry out any works.
To protect yourself – and the bats – be sure to appoint people who know how to deal with all the issues and can guide you through the process.
Related project: Churchend Barn
Photograph courtesy of Warren Photographic