Bats and the Law

Bats and the Law

All UK bat species are protected by European and UK legislation: the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and amendments and Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This affords complete legal protection to all bats and their roosts.

Offences:

  • To kill, injure or handle a bat
  • Disturb bats when they are roosting
  • Obstruct, damage or destroy the places where bats live (this applies even if the bats are not in residence)
  • Possess, control, transport, sell, exchange or offer for sale/exchange any live or dead bat or any part of a bat
  • Keep bats in captivity

If any activities are undertaken that result in any of above an offence would be committed under the law. If prosecuted a conviction can be 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine.

Exceptions:

There are a number of exceptions where such activities can be undertaken without an offence being committed:

  • If there is no reasonable alternative you can tend to an injured bat in order to release it when it recovers, or again if there is no reasonable alternative you can kill a bat if there appears to be no reasonable chance of recovery. Before doing either you should check with an expert to identify any alternatives.
  • If any actions or works, such as household maintenance or development work, are likely to impact on bats then a (derogation) licence may be able to be obtained from Natural Resources Wales. This will allow works to be undertaken, dependent upon the implementation of certain conditions and methods of working. Mitigation may be required to be provided, especially in the case of developments, where for example roosts are removed. New roost spaces are normally required to be provided if any are lost.

Further Information: