Volunteer Roost Visits and Free Advice

Occasionally work is required on a property that has the potential to disturb a bat roost; or sometimes issues arise as the result of bats and humans living in close proximity. With expert advice a solution can be found so that humans and bats can co-exist harmoniously.

Due to the goodwill and expertise of a large number of licensed volunteers in the UK there are many instances where this advice can be offered free of charge. This is offered in the form of phone or email advice, or a roost visit which can be organised through your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO).

The visit will result in a letter detailing how to carry out the work with least disturbance to the bats. This might mean that the work has to be carried out at a particular time of year (bats are usually only seasonal visitors to roofs) or that particular materials must be used.

In England, these visits are organised by Bat Conservation Trust on behalf of Natural England. Please contact the Bat Conservation Trust Helpline (0345 1300 228) for further details on organising a visit.

For more detailed information on the service provided during these visits please refer to our Guide to the Natural England Roost Visiting Service

Are you eligible for a free roost visit?

  • Building types covered: dwellings and churches.
  • Small scale maintenance and remedial works that do not require planning permission.

Please note there may be exceptions to the above due to the fact that this is a volunteer service.

UPDATE 17th August 2020: Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 16th March regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the UK, the decision was made by Natural England on 17th March to postpone all free roost visits in England until further notice.

We are pleased to announce that from Tuesday 21st July 2020 we can now organize in-person visits to eligible dwellings and places of worship, under certain strict conditions. As we rely on the generosity of volunteers to carry out these surveys, we will be limited by the number of surveys we can organise at any one time.

At the current time, we can only offer visits for:

  • Domestic dwelling cases that can be assessed externally (e.g. emergence surveys)
  • Domestic dwelling cases where there are urgent, essential works and pest control (e.g. where there is a human or bat welfare concern)
  • Domestic dwelling issues cases that can be assessed externally
  • Places of worship where strict covid-19 safety measures can be implemented

We will not organize external visits for the below cases. Please do not contact the Helpline if this is relevant to you. Our Helpline staff are not able to provide any further information than can be found on the web page regarding the recommencement of visits. Changes to these conditions will be published on this webpage, so please do check back for updates.

  • Cases that require entry to the loft space (dwellings)
  • Non-essential works in dwellings (e.g. no human or bat welfare concern in delaying)
  • Cases where any person at the property is self-isolating, showing symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolating or shielding
  • Any other building or structure besides dwellings and places of worship

If you have already been in touch with us about your query, please have your case reference ready to quote when contacting the Helpline.

We are anticipating a very high volume of requests and you should expect a delay in receiving a response. Our Helpline team are working very hard to keep up with the large number of return enquiries, and will prioritise cases based on urgency. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

This web page will be updated when more kinds of roost visits can be organised, so please check back regularly if you are not yet eligible.

In Wales, this advice service is provided by your local office of Natural Resources Wales. Please contact your nearest office or ring Enquiries on 0300 065 3000, or email enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Species staff will be able to tell you if an advisory visit is needed, whether Natural Resources Wales can provide this service free of charge or whether you need to employ an ecologist.

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