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 has been or is being committed. Ensure you get a reference number and then let us know about the incident by emailing investigations@bats.org.uk or by completing the incident form below.

We are able to assist the police, bat workers, members of the public and professionals by giving advice and information about bats, roosts and the legislation. You can email investigations@bats.org.uk if you have a specific query.

For more information about how BCT and bat workers help prevent bat related crime, find out about our Investigations Project.

What should you do if you know of a roost or habitat that is under threat from development?

It is in the interest of the owners, developers and contractors alike to ensure that they are considering bats when carrying out works, otherwise they may be putting themselves at risk of committing an offence.

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. We suggest 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.

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 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.

Please find our guidance for approaching your local planning authority here.

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.

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