Roofing and its Effects on Bats
Work such as loft conversions, roofing repairs or a roof replacement can have a significant effect on bats that may have made the space their home. This effect is important as many bat species in the UK are protected. What this means is that if they are denizens of your property, they are landing you with a pile of legislation and regulations to adhere to.
Typical extra work required before roofing or loft work can begin include a survey and acquiring a special bat license.
There are a total of seventeen different bat species that breed in England and Wales and nearly all of these will use buildings as roosts at various times of the year. The good news is that they will not cause any damage to your building.
The bad news is that most of the populations of these bat species have been in decline for decades. Recent EU laws have strengthened the legal protection these creatures have received from the British government since 1982.
It is a criminal offence to:
- ‘Recklessly’ disturb a bat or group of bats in its roost (your home, loft or roof).
- Destroy or in any way ‘damage’ the breeding or resting place (your home, loft or roof) of a bat.
- ‘Recklessly’ block access to the bats roost (your home, loft or roof).
These laws mean that if your home requires maintenance, repairs or if you want to improve it via refurbishment, then you must be very careful that the work in no way influences the bats such that it could be construed as an offence by the listed laws.
This is particularly key regarding the access points of the bats. Such access points may be unintentional or part of what you are hoping to repair with your roof…but now that the bats have found their way in, it has become protected.
Luckily, the Natural England office can provide free advice as to how you should go about your roofing work without committing any inadvertent illegal activity. They may provide a volunteer or staff member to inspect your building and provide advice in writing.