When you’re thinking about having a loft conversion (or any other building work), bats must be taken into account as they often roost in the eaves of a house amongst other places. Bats and their roosts are legally protected by law, so it’s really important to follow procedures and guidelines in this respect. We’ve put together these useful pointers on planning for buildings with bats.
If you suspect that bats are roosting in your property you can look for the tell-tale signs that will give you a better idea. There will usually be droppings around the entrance to the roost. Look for little black/dark brown pellets, usually in a cluster. You can carry out your own “emergence survey” in the summer months when bats are active. All this means is sitting out in the evening (maybe with a cheeky glass of something) and watching to see if bats are “emerging” from somewhere within your building. If you do spot them coming out, have a listen around that area just before dusk, and you may hear “bat chatter.” This is a noise that bats make before they fly out to feed. If you have a maternity roost, it will more than likely be the babies calling out to their mothers wanting food.
Planning for buildings with bats.
Having established that you have bats or a roost in your building, you need to find out if a bat survey has taken place. You can find out here. If there hasn’t been a survey, you should contact your local planning authority. There’s a download available from the Bat Conservation Trust which contains more information. You can download it here.
If you’re concerned about having bats in your property, here are a few facts to set your mind at rest:
- Bats are clean and sociable animals, possibly cleaner and more sociable that some humans!
- All UK bats eat insects, so they are a form of pest control, and you’re less likely to get a fly in your chardonnay if you have bats.
- Bats are not rodents! They won’t do any damage to your property, won’t chew through wires, or nibble at your rafters.
- Unlike birds or wasps, bats don’t build nests, they use what’s available to them, so no mess.
- Bats eat “on the wing” so don’t bring their “prey” into your home (unlike cats!)
- Bats droppings are dry and crumbly, so they just turn to dust. There are no known health risks associated with bat poo!
- If you have a maternity roost, don’t panic! Female bats usually only have 1 baby per year, so your home won’t be “infested.”
If you still have concerns, you can learn a vast amount about bats online at www.bats.org.uk and you can even join a local bat group if you happen to fall in love with our furry friends! Just look how cute they are!