Monmouthshire Bat Group
   Home      Bats and the law

Bats and their roosts are legally protected

All UK bats and their roosts are protected by law.
Since the first legislation, introduced in 1981, that gave strong legal protection to all bat species and their roosts in England, Scotland and Wales, additional legislation and amendments have been implemented in all countries within the UK. For all countries of the UK therefore, the legal protection for bats and their roosts may be summarised as follows:
You will be committing a criminal offence if you:

1. Deliberately* capture, injure or kill a bat

2. Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats

3. Damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time)

4. Possess or advertise/sell/exchange a bat (dead or alive) or any part of a bat

5. Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost

*In a court, 'deliberately' will probably be interpreted as someone who, although not intending to capture/injure or kill a bat, performed the relevant action, being sufficiently informed and aware of the consequence his/her action will most likely have.

Defences include:

1. Tending/caring for a bat solely for the purpose of restoring it to health and subsequent release

2. Mercy killing where there is no reasonable hope of recovery (provided that person did not cause the injury in the first place - in which case the illegal act has already taken place). This should only be carried out by a suitably qualified person.

Penalties on conviction - the maximum fine is £5,000 per incident or per bat (some roosts contain several hundred bats), up to six months in prison, and forfeiture of items used to commit the offence, eg vehicles, plant, machinery.
Please refer to the legislation for the precise wording - the above is a brief summary only.
A Lesser horseshoe bat roosting in an attic in Monmouthshire