I have bats living in my roof - can I undertake repair work or do I need permission first?

Q: I have a small colony of pipistrelle bats living in my attic. They cause no harm at all but some repair work to the cladding and roof will soon have to be undertaken and this, I have no doubt, will cause the bats some disturbance. Am I able to go ahead with the work or do I have to obtain permission?

Tony Jackson replies: You will have to contact English Nature before undertaking any work that might affect or disturb your colony of bats. In most cases, it’s simply a question of organising the work to avoid the bats’ breeding season. At the same time, you could also ensure that there are access points so that the bats can return when the work has been completed.

The law states that English Nature must be consulted before any action is taken which might lead to disturbance. Repairs and maintenance to buildings can affect bats and their roosts. It’s also worth noting that treatment for woodworm or rot, if carried out with the wrong sort of chemicals, especially older type insecticides, can be fatal to bats.

English Nature can be contacted on 0360 060 3900.