28th November 2022

Bat Conservation has never faced a greater threat

A serotine bat near parliament - Hugh Clark

Bats and other wildlife are in danger of losing their legal protection as the government continues its attack on nature. While there are several pieces of legislation that pose a threat, the most clear and present danger is the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill. This Bill puts over 800 environmental laws in danger: it gives the government the power to scrap legislation without examining evidence of the impact or having any public consultation or parliamentary scrutiny. The REUL Bill approaches all existing legislation as if they are simply a regulatory burden rather than vital way of protecting our environment and the species that are an important part of our natural heritage. For bats, the way the bill is currently structured, the legislation can only be used to weaken protections which will ultimately lead to pushing many species closer to the edge of extinction across the UK. For bats, it is likely to mean that to 'kill or injure' bats will become legal again along with damage/destruction of roosts. If the REUL Bill gets implemented, it will also take up resources at Defra and other government departments which will in turn detract from any efforts to halt natures decline by 2030. Richard Benwell, Wildlife and Countryside Link CEO, has written a blog outlining the dangers of the REUL Bill in more detail, it is available HERE.

At his first Prime Ministers Questions the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, restated a previous government commitment by saying that, “we care deeply about passing to our children an environment in a better state than we found it ourselves”. More recently, a government statement in relation to the COP 15 biodiversity summit said, “The government remains absolutely committed to leading international and domestic action to tackle climate change and protect nature”. If the Retained EU Bill is passed, it will make these commitments ring hollow.

The Retained EU Law Bill needs to be scrapped immediately. Many of you have already written to your MPs about threats to bat protection but we need you to write again and ask them to hold the government to account and reconsider their course of action. You can find a template letter HERE but do personalise it and don't forget to include your address so they know you are their constituent. There are other ways to contact your MP and alert them to the importance of this issue, such as attending their surgery – see https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-an-mp-or-lord/contact-your-mp/#jump3 Please do email us on comms@bats.org.uk and share any responses you receive.