All British bats are protected by a range of
legal acts, including the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, The Wild Mammals
(Protection) Act 1996 and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW) 2000.
Internationally our bats are also protected by the Bonn Convention, the Bern
Convention and the Habitats and Species Directive.
These laws make it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take a wild bat or
to be in possession of any part of a wild bat (live or dead, although some
exceptions apply). It is also illegal to intentionally or recklessly damage,
destroy or obstruct any place that wild bats use for shelter whether or not the
place is in use at the time.
The law obviously has effects on groups like the Staffordshire Bat Group, who
undertake care and rehabilitation work, and on people who own buildings or sites
that are occupied by bats. Bat workers are allowed by the law to rescue sick and
injured bats with the intention of tending them and releasing them to the wild.
People who own buildings occupied by bats, and are concerned about their
presence, should first contact the
Staffordshire Bat Group
for advice. Bats do not smell, encourage
vermin or damage houses. However, if a person decides that they do not want bats
in their building they are required to contact the Statutory Nature Conservation
Organisation in their area (English
Nature, the Countryside Council for Wales or
Scottish Natural Heritage) for advice and to give a reasonable amount of time
for that advice to be offered. If you are happy to have bats in your building
but want to carry out work to their roost area it also necessary to contact the
above organisations who will be able to advise on the best time of year for the
work to be carried out.
If you want to photograph wild bats you need to obtain a special licence from
English Nature (or your country's statutory nature conservation organisation) as
unlicenced photography consitutes disturbance. Use the links or addresses below
to get more information.
Sources of information:
Staffordshire Bat Group www.parkhall.demon.co.uk
* Bat Conservation Trust www.bats.org.uk
* English Nature www.english-nature.org.uk
English Nature, Licensing Service, Northminster House,
Peterborough PE1 1UA. tel:01733
* Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Council for Wales www.ccw.gov.uk
* Scottish Natural Heritage www.snh.org.uk