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Bats in your Roof? What does this mean for your Loft Conversion?

Although it’s rare to have bats roosting in your loft, it does happen. And contrary to popular belief, it can happen in towns and cities as well as in the countryside. Bats are a protected species, so what should you do if you’re planning a loft conversion, yet when you venture into your loft you find that a family of bats have made themselves at home?

Well, converting your loft when there’s a history of bats roosting there does need to be carefully thought out, but is often possible.

What you Need to Know about Bats

All species of bats are legally protected. This means that you can’t just evict the bats from your loft, and if you were to do so, you’d be committing an offence.

Indeed, amongst other things, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, you may be committing an offence if you:

• Capture, kill or injure a bat

• Intentionally destroy their home or disturb them

• Intentionally obstruct access to a bat’s roost

What Should you do if you Suspect Bats are Living in your Loft?

If it’s obvious that you have bats in your loft before the work on your loft conversion begins, it’s best to get a bat survey done before applying for planning permission. A bat survey needs to be carried out by a fully trained and licensed person. In fact, if you try to investigate yourself, you could be committing an offence by disturbing the bats. 

Common signs of bats living in your loft include:

• Chattering around dusk or dawn

• Seeing them leaving or entering your house or loft

• Droppings in the loft that look similar to mouse or rat droppings

If you’re already in the middle of your build when you spot the bats, the loft conversion work will, unfortunately, have to stop immediately.

What do Bats mean for your Loft Conversion?

The ecologist that carries out the bat survey can advise whether it’s possible to continue with the build and leave the bats in situ (some people have a specific bat room to manage the issue, and you can find out more about living with bats in your home here:

Alternatively, a mitigation licence can sometimes be issued alongside your planning permission to have the bats removed. To apply for this, you’ll need to prove that there is no alternative which will be less harmful to the bats, that the work won’t harm the long term conservation status of the species (and you may need to build a new habitat, for example, for them to live in) and that the work is for a particular purpose.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of bats in your loft, speak to Bespoke Lofts. We can advise further and point you in the right direction of a specialist ecologist to conduct a bat survey and help with your loft conversion build. 

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