Spring officially starts today! So it’s a good time to start thinking about those home refurbishments you’ve been putting off this winter.
Perhaps you need to replace those damaged roof tiles, or insulate your loft space with our new Kooltherm K107 Pitched Roof Board? But, you may not realise that in starting these refurbishment works, you could bump into some little critters: bats!
Did you know it is illegal to kill, injure or disturb a bat? It is also illegal to damage, destroy or obstruct access to their roosts.
To avoid doing any of these things by accident when starting refurbishment works, it’s good to know where bats tend to roost. Generally, bats roost in roof spaces, such as between roof linings and coverings, under ridge tiles and lead flashing, and behind fascia boards. They can also roost in wall cavities, and if they can find any gaps around door and window frames they’ll roost there too!
Local planning authorities (LPAs) have a duty to consider protected species in planning processes. But, development licences can be granted for activities that would otherwise be illegal. To apply for a development licence, and also satisfy your LPA, data will need to be collected on bat populations in the area, the methods that will be used to reduce harm and impact to bats, and details of the provisions for bat roosting before, during and after refurbishment works. Surveys can be carried out at any time of year, and involve an ecologist to inspect for bats, or evidence of bats, such as droppings. However, this process can take a few months, so it is best to start data collection early before any refurbishment works take place.
If you do find any bats, the following are suitable alternatives to help them carry on living in their usual style of habitat:
- Bat boxes erected on trees or buildings
- Bat flight entrance points, which could be built into the roof, a door or a wall
- Internal flight space for bats in an attic
- The use of bitumen roofing felt and untreated timber
- The planting of shrubs or trees around the building to provide new bat flight routes and foraging area
For more information, please refer to a handy ‘Good Repair Guide’ produced for the BRE in 2009, ‘Bats and Refurbishment’.