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How the Habitats Regulations 1994 affects bats.

Article Date: 16/10/2007

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007, also known as the Habitats Regulations, were enacted on the 21st August 2007, and have amended earlier regulations The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994, concerning the protection of bats. These amendments were required because of European Court judgements. The amendments remove a number of defences that were available under earlier legislation, including;

  • The dwelling house defence whereby roosts may be damaged, destroyed or obstructed.
  • The incidental result of an otherwise lawful operation that could not reasonably be avoided.
  • The ‘legally acquired’ possession of dead specimens.

Under the new regulations the owner of a dwelling house who wishes to exclude bats from their property will have to obtain a licence from Natural England. Natural England will work in partnership with bat group volunteers to provide advice to householders and complete the new licence application form. Under the new system advice about to avoid committing an offence is of primary concern, with a licence for exclusion only being given as a last resort.

The removal of the ‘incidental result of a lawful operation’ means that there is no protection for inadvertently destroying a bat roost. It will be necessary therefore to find ways of avoiding harm to bats. This will include considering bats at an early stage in any work that may affect them such as changes in farming practices, the felling or pruning of trees and the removal or alteration of structures.

It is no necessary to have a licence from Natural England to hold live or dead bats that are found on the ground.

<b>How the Habitats Regulations 1994 affects bats.</b>

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