All species of bat in the UK are legally protected species which make it an offence to kill, injure or disturb a bat or to disturb a roost site regardless of whether or not bats are present at the time. As some bats roost in or around residential properties there are times when the properties human occupants will encounter bats and need some help or advice. In England, Natural England provide this service via a national network of dedicated volunteers. As of January 2013 all bat volunteers are coordinated by the Bat Conservation Trust (the UK’s only charity work for bats) who will take calls from members of the public and arrange for a local volunteer to attend the property and provide specialist advice. Bat volunteers will attend sites where bats have been discovered in living space, are causing a nuisance in a known roost or where advice on bats is required; volunteers will not conduct surveys intended to accompany a planning application. As well as being fully licenced bat surveyors, all full time staff at Hesketh Ecology are registered bat volunteers and regularly visit members of the public who have bat issues. In 2012 we were involved in collecting and caring for grounded and injured bats, clearing droppings from roost sites in loft voids and advised members of the public on how to conduct minor works within known roosts so as not to affect bats (or commit an offence!). Providing this service is vital to bat conservation and we are please to offer this service on top of our commercial bat survey work.
The new Bat Helpline phone number is 0845 1300 228. This now replaces other numbers previously used in Cumbria. If you discover bats in your property or need advice on living with bats – phone this number and a volunteer will be arranged.