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.
- 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.
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.