Cladding, soffits and fascias

Bats often roost behind cladding, soffits or fascias, or use these features to access their roosts elsewhere. When repairing or replacing cladding, soffits or fascias, it’s important to consider the possible presence of bats and take measures to protect any roost. You can often get free advice for work of this nature from your SNCO.

In general, replacing like for like is best if you have bats. This ensures the roost is recreated in a way that is suitable for bats to return. If you’re intending to change the material, you might need to ensure that the new material is suitable for bats to roost behind. For example, if you’re replacing wooden fascias and soffits with uPVC, then you’ll need to roughen the underside of the uPVC near the bats’ access, so the bats can grip onto it. This can be done with sandpaper or by attaching a piece of bitumen felt (not non-bitumen roofing membrane. If you’re using Natural England’s free advice service, you’ll receive full instructions in your advice letter.

In some cases, it might not be possible to retain the bat roost, and the work may require a licence. This will mean you have to seek advice from an ecological consultant rather than your SNCO. Sometimes roost owners will compromise and leave hanging tiles in the area where the bats roost, with uPVC elsewhere.

Cladding, soffits and fascias

Horshoe bat access to loft via soffits. Diagram by Hannah Ryan-Leah

This advice provided by the National Bat Helpline is only possible thanks to the generosity of people like you. Our vital advice service helps thousands of people by providing advice for free, this in turn saves thousands of bats every year. Partial funding from Natural England helps cover some of our running costs, but it does not cover everything. Your donation will help ensure our small team can continue to provide assistance and a lifeline for bats.

Please click here for more information and to donate.

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