Bats and building work in churches

Building and restoration works in a church that has bats need to be planned to minimise disturbance to the roost. This can often be done by adjusting the timing of the work but when this is not possible, a licence can be obtained from your statutory nature conservation organisation (SNCO) to carry out the work. Taking bats into account at the onset of planning building works can save time and money later on in the project, and help and advice is available.

Some examples of what can disturb bats:

Light: Bats as nocturnal animals are sensitive to light and therefore installing bright lights (such as floodlighting) inside or outside the church has the potential to affect them. Find out more about bats and lighting.

Scaffolding: There is a risk of blocking bat access points. A bat surveyor can establish where bats are accessing their roosting areas and give advice on how to avoid obstructing these.

Roof repairs: Bats are often found in the roof structures of buildings. Extensive roof repairs have the potential to affect the bats’ ability to use their roost.

Remedial timber treatment: The use of wildlife friendly chemicals is recommended, and care should be taken when these are applied near a bat roost.

Help and advice

If you are planning building or remedial work at your church, you can often receive advice on how this may affect bats through your statutory nature conservation organisation (SNCO), or by hiring an ecological consultant. This advice will outline how the work can be planned to ensure bats are not harmed.

In England, churches may be eligible for free advice from the National Bat Helpline on behalf of Natural England. This may include a roost visit by a trained volunteer.

Next: How do bats use churches?