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How the Wildlife and Coutryside Act 1981 affects bats

Article Date: 17/10/2007

There are seventeen species of bats resident in the United Kingdom. As population numbers have fallen, all bats and their roosts are fully protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and The Conservation [Natural Habitats & c.] Regulations 1994. Taken together, the Act and Regulations make it illegal to:

  • Intentionally or deliberately kill, injure or capture (or take) bats;
  • Deliberately disturb bats (whether in a roost or not);
  • Recklessly disturb roosting bats or obstruct access to their roosts;
  • Recklessly damage or destroy bat roosts;
  • Possess or transport a bat or any part of a bat, unless acquired legally;
  • Sell (or offer for sale) or exchange bats, or parts of bats.

All bats are on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (WCA), and are referred to as a ‘protected species’ or ‘European protected species’. Recent changes in The Conservation [Natural Habitats &c.] Regulations 2007, more commonly known as the Habitats Regulations, have sought to more closely align the legislation and remove anomalies. The is still some confusion however as some offenses still exist under Schedule 5 of the WCA, being the offence of obstructing access to a roost and the intentional or reckless disturbance of a European Protected Species that is occupying a place of shelter or protection.

<b>How the Wildlife and Coutryside Act 1981 affects bats</b>

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