In Cumbria, we have eight bat species out of the sixteen species found in Britain. As bat populations are in rapid decline, the law now protects bats and their roosts.

Bats depend on buildings to house them and return to the same place every year. They use existing gaps or holes for access. Bats do not cause damage, they do not have nesting materials or nibble through cables, wires, or insulation.

Bats legal status

The law protects all species of bat and their breeding sites or resting places, known as roosts.

It is an offence for anyone intentionally to kill, injure or handle a bat, to possess a bat (whether live or dead), disturb a roosting bat, or sell or offer a bat for sale without a licence. It is also an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by bats for shelter, whether they are present or not.

This means that if you plan to develop any building, you should be carrying out a bat survey before you begin any work.

Read about bat protection and licences on GOV.UK, to find out what you must do to avoid harming bats and when you’ll need a licence.

For further advice on bats

Last updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2021.