The latest version of the Bat Habitats Regulation Bill is scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 13th of March. This is the fifth time a Bill of this nature has been presented to Parliament. The current Bill is sponsored by Sir Christopher Chope MP, as was the first Bill in January 2015. Three similar version have been sponsored by Lord Cormack in the House of Lords. Details of all the previous bills can be found at the end of this news piece, while the information regarding the latest Bill can be found here: https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/bathabitatsregulation.html
Like previous Bills, it seeks to reduce the protection of bats in places of worship and like previous versions, this Bill is impractical and will be highly detrimental for both bat populations and churches. Current legislation provides an essential mechanism for safeguarding vulnerable species whilst ensuring social and economic needs are met. Diluting or requesting exemptions to this legislation would certainly harm bats and would not be a positive way forward for churches or other places of worship either.
At the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) we have always worked to find sustainable solutions for those churches experiencing problems caused by having a bat roost. We have a long standing commitment to finding solutions that benefit church users, bat populations and our cultural heritage. We have worked with a number of partners to develop the Bats in Churches partnership which is made up of Natural England, the Church of England, Historic England, BCT and the Churches Conservation Trust. The project has secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to work with a large number of churches, including some of those worse affected. MORE
Header image: brown long-eared bat catching moth. Credit: (c) Daniel Hargreaves.