Introduction to bats

Bats are a fascinating and varied group of mammals.  More than 1000 different species occur worldwide, eighteen of which are found in the UK.  British bats eat only insects, they are generally harmless and  don't damage property.

Unlike most types of wildlife, bats have a close association with humans.  Our buildings and other structures frequently play host to roosting bats as the crevices and roof voids that they contain may provide ideal conditions for breeding or hibernation. 

Bats have received strict legal protection in the UK since 1981.  Some species of bats are known to have declined historically, but their use of human-built structures makes them especially vulnerable when buildings are being repaired, re-roofed, extended, altered and demolished.  Planners must take account of bats when making their decisions, so where bats could be present you are likely to be asked for a bat survey before your planning application is registered.  The presence of bats does not often prevent a development from going ahead, but it does enable appropriate mitigation measures to be drawn up to safeguard the bats.

Follow the links to find out more about bats, bat surveys and the consequences if bats are found.