Creating access for bats

Creating bat access gaps when carrying out work is one of the simplest ways to protect bats roosts in the long-term. This is often a requirement for carrying out work within the strict legislation that protects bats and you should always get personalised advice for your project before going ahead.

When creating bats access, you often need to consider:

Size of access

The most common size for bat access in the UK is very small to accommodate for the small species that tend to use buildings. These small bats will land on the building and crawl into their roost, and so don’t need a lot of room to get in. Bat access gaps are usually so small you cannot notice them on the building without looking for them! The big exception is horseshoe bats, who need much bigger access points because they fly directly into their roosts. These bats often need a ‘letter box’ style opening, the size of which will depend on which species you have in your building. It is usually quite possible to create this access in a way that suits the design and style of your building.

Please seek personalised advice via one of the available services, which will tell you exactly what size bat access you need to include.

Location of access

Where to recreate your bat access will very much depend on the nature of your roost and planned works. Typically, access should be created as close as possible to where it once was to ensure that bats can return. The detail of where to site your bat access point(s) should be advised on by your SNCO or ecologist.

Providing access under roof tiles or slates

An easy way to create access under a roof tile is to raise the tile slightly with a timber batten or small piece of tile. Depending on the type of bat and roost location, you may also need to cut a hole in the roofing felt directly under the access point. You can also make a special Morris bat slate using spare lead flashing which can be inexpensive and easy to do yourself.

When providing access into a building, it is usually easy to create this in a way that allows bats to access while preventing weather ingress and protecting the look of your building. Seeking advice ahead of works is the best way to ensure the access won’t cause any damage to your building, will look a way you are happy with, and will safeguard the bats.

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.

Next: Roofing membranes