Reporting Bat Crimes
What should you do if you know of a roost or habitat that is under threat from development?
What we suggest is that you contact the local planning authority to find out whether a bat survey has been carried out as part of the planning application. This can be done as a phone call, or a letter.
The planning authority are obligated by law (Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006) to make sure that they have all the information on the presence of protected species on site before they make a decision on the planning permission.
If a survey has not been carried out on a proposed development site, you are within your rights to contact the council and request that a survey be completed. You are also entitled to see the bat survey under the Freedom of Information Act.
If you disagree with the survey, you can read our guidelines for bat survey good practice, found on our website and put your concerns in writing to the council. If bats are found to be present on the site, and planning permission is granted, the developer will have to apply for a habitats regulation license. This will state certain conditions i.e. timing and mitigation.
If you have direct evidence that bats are roosting in a building or tree on the site (seen them emerging from buildings or trees) and planning permission has been granted without a bat survey, or works are taking place without a licence, then a crime may be being committed. This should then be reported to the police and the local authority as outlined below.
What should you do if you suspect a roost is being damaged or bats are being disturbed?
Damage, destruction and obstruction of roosts are criminal offences and a police matter. So is disturbance of bats.
If you know of a location where these are happening, you should:
- Contact your local police station. Explain that you think a wildlife crime is being committed, and mention 'Operation Bat'. Operation Bat is the police Standard Operating Procedure for dealing with bat-related incidents, because bats are a police wildlife crime priority. Ensure you get a reference number and then let us know about the incident by emailing email@example.com, or completing the incident report form below.
- Contact BCTs helpline: 0845 1300 228
We are able to assist the police, batworkers, members of the public and professionals by giving advice and information about bats, roosts and the legislation. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a specific query.
For more information about how BCT and batworkers help prevent bat related crime, find out about our Investigations Project.
Bat Incident Reporting Form
The Bat Conservation Trust needs to know of incidents involving bats or roosts where wildlife legislation may have been breached. This helps us to understand the scale and type of incidents taking place, so that we can more effectively educate and work with the main perpetrators, to try to reduce numbers of similar incidents happening in the future. They will also be followed up. Please let us know of incidents as soon as you become aware of them, and try to use this form so we have the information we need. The information you give will be treated confidentially, and no further action will be taken without your permission.
Data Protection: BCT will use the information you submit only for the purposes of investigating bat-related crimes. BCT will not share this information with any third parties without your prior permission. The information may be published anonymously and in aggregated form for assessing general trends on crime areas, and no incident will be individually identifiable.