Photo: old and abandoned houses have high potential for bat roosts, similar to structures that can be found alongside our waterways (photo by: Anne Burgess via Wikimedia Commons)
All UK bat have been known to roost in buildings, although some a more common sight than others. The most commonly found bats in buildings are the Pipistrelle bats (common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and the rarer Nathusius pipistrelle) and Brown long-eared bats. The different species of bat tend to prefer differing conditions which varying roosts can offer. Cetain features offer will contrasting conditions for bats to roost in.
Bat roosts can be found in and around buildings, wherever there is a gap there is a potential for a bat roost. Areas most commonly used outside are under weather boards or hanging tiles, inside cavity walls, in gaps behind cladding tiles, between window frame and wall brickwork, between under felt and boards or tiles or above soffits and behind fascia and barge boarding. Inside they can be found along ridge beams, around the gable end or on the chimney breast.
There are certain measures that can be followed to avoid damage or disturbance to potential bat roosts, when planning building work. They are as follows:
If your building does have a bat roost within it and work is likely to affect bats or roosts, alert the appropriate SNCO or governmental body to any work that could cause damage to an existing or potential roost and they will be able to offer advice. Work that will affect other buildings, structures or trees then a Habitats Regulation License (HBR) must be applied for. A Survey for bats will also need to be undertaken by a bat specialist, who will apply for the HBR and provide options for mitigation such as:
You should record the presence of protected species on a national database. This can done by contacting the local Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO). Alternatively you can record online at the National Biodiversity Network. You should also alert the appropriate land owner, council and or management body to the presence and location of this species.
If you encounter or believe that there are bats present on a site where work is being conducted contact the Bat Conservation Trust or your Local Bat Group for advice and guidance on what should be the next steps you take.