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Bats and trees

All UK bats and their roosts are protected by law

All bat species are protected under Section 39, Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations 1994, the Wildlife and Countryside Act (as amended) 1981, and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

As a result it is illegal to damage or disturb any bat roost, whether occupied or not, or harm a bat. Prosecution could result in imprisonment, fines of £5000 per animal affected and confiscation of vehicles and equipment used.

Older trees are often used by bats for roosting; roost sites can include rot holes, woodpecker holes, cracks, and gaps made by splits and loose bark and dying wood.

If you are aware that bats roost in the tree(s) for which work is planned, you should take further advice from Natural England (via the Bat Conservation Trust on 0845 1300 228) or an ecological consultant before you start.

If bats are discovered during the work, you must stop immediately and contact Natural England (via the Bat Conservation Trust on 0845 1300 228) for advice before continuing.

Last updated: 01 May 2020

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