15th November 2017

Link to Bat Crime Annual report PDF

Many of the 18 species of bat found in the UK use man-made structures, such as houses, churches and barns for roosting, and the surrounding habitats for foraging and commuting. Recent studies indicate that some species are now showing some signs of recovery from population declines. Whilst this news is encouraging, recovery to historic population levels have still to be achieved. Maternity roosts, often found in buildings, are particularly vulnerable as bat species have very specific nursery roost requirements and when a roost is destroyed an alternative suitable roost may not be readily available. For this reason it is important that all 18 species of bats found in the UK and their roosts continue to be protected by law.

The latest Bat Crime Annual Report 2016 is being release today and it outlines and analyses incidents and outcomes of the Bat Conservation Trust's Investigations Project from January to December 2016. In 2016 153 allegations of bat crime were referred to the police. This is above the long-term average and is the second highest number of referrals ever made in a calendar year. It represents a 15% increase from the previous year in the number of referrals made to the police in 2016 is cause for continued concern about levels of bat crime.

The rise in the number of referrals may be partly due to an increase in reporting such matters among those who find evidence of bat crime. However, the number of referrals made to the police each year since 2010 demonstrates an upward trend that needs to be addressed. Anecdotal evidence from bat workers, the general public and building and forestry professionals continues to indicate that these figures may represent only a drop in the ocean. Although development has been identified as a key component of many bat crimes, BCT acknowledges that many in the industry want to do the right thing. Bat Conservation Trust is committed to raising levels of knowledge and awareness amongst those charged with delivering the legal protection offered to bats as well as to a wide range of sectors on how to mitigate to avoid likely negative impacts.

You can download the report here: http://www.bats.org.uk/data/files/Bat_Crime_report_2017.pdf

Further information about Bat Crime is available HERE

To contribute to the work by Bat Conservation Trust: http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/get_involved.html

Contact: Joe Nunez at jnunez-mino@bats.org.uk or 0207 820 7168 for more information, images and interviews.