All of the UK's bats and their roosts are protected by law so it is important to understand these laws if you are planning any building or remedial work that may affect a roost. The relevant statutory authority should be contacted for advice.

Having bats roosting within a building does not necessarily mean that work cannot be carried out. What it does mean is that the work will need careful consideration, especially in terms of time and materials, so that the area can continue to be used by both bats and people. Therefore, the earlier in the process the bats are taken into account the less disruption to building plans there will be.

Where can I receive advice?

Advice can either be provided by your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO) or by a professional licensed ecological consultant.

The type of work proposed will determine from where advice should be sought.

Remedial work in a dwelling house or a church (not requiring planning permission or building consent)

Remedial work in a dwelling house or a church (not requiring planning permission or building consent). In this instance you need to contact your SNCO. This can be done through the National Bat Helpline.

The SNCO will organise a free visit, through a volunteer, and will then provide advice on how to proceed while causing minimal disturbance to bats. You can find out more about the volunteer roost visit service here.

Work requiring planning permission or work in a non-dwelling/church

If the roost is not in a dwelling/church (e.g. old farm building, out-building, a tree, school, factory etc) or the works require planning permission then an ecological consultant will be needed (i.e. it is outside of the free roost visit remit). The ecological consultant will carry out a survey and write a method statement on behalf of the person proposing the work. They will also help apply for a licence is this is necessary.

We suggest that you contact the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management to find a consultant in your area. A list of local consultants can be found in the 'Professional Directory' section. Enter "bats" as a keyword, and search by your geographic area.

Next: Volunteer Roost Visits and Free Advice