Bats and Churches Partnership 
Latest Developments 

About the Bats in Churches partnership 

Natural England, Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England, Historic England, Bat Conservation Trust and Churches Conservation Trust have come together to form a ground-breaking partnership that brings together communities, bats and historic churches. 
 
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and AllChurches Trust, the development phase of the Bats in Churches Project runs until June 2018, working with three pilot churches to test different approaches to manage the impact of bats in churches. This phase has included a pilot of the ‘citizen science’ study and development work with twenty churches. 
 
Subject to securing further funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and from other supporters, the delivery phase of the project is expected to run for five years from 2018-2023. 
 
This unique project seeks to safeguard the future of protected bat roosts living in hundreds of England’s parish churches whilst reducing their negative impact on these historic buildings and the people who use them. 
 
The Bats in Churches Project will investigate and put in place practical solutions to the problems caused by bats in historic churches while safeguarding the future of the bat that use these buildings. 
 
The five year project will work with some of the most severely affected churches to support them to serve their communities without restriction. The project will help them to protect their historic spaces without harming bat habitats. The partnership will recruit hundreds of volunteers to help care for their historic churches and the bats who live in them, while thousands more will be able to get involved in exciting citizen science studies, education programmes and community-led bat and church events. 

Bats in Churches Class Licence 

The problems presented by large bat populations roosting and breeding in churches are unique. On one hand, churches are precious places of historic, cultural and religious importance that are treasured by the communities and that use and enjoy them. On the other, bats are rare and fascinating flying mammals that enjoy strong legal protection due to massive historic population declines. Protecting these bat populations while ensuring their impacts upon churches is minimised is a particular challenge. 
 
This is why a dedicated Bats in Churches Class licence is currently being developed. This new licence is being designed for use in churches where large bat populations are causing unacceptably high levels of damage to church fabric and monuments and disruption to congregations. It will enable highly skilled professional ecologists to work with those who care for churches to plan and then implement work to reduce the impacts being caused while facilitating the best outcomes for bats and for the buildings in which they live. 
 
Further information about this licence including; when it will be finished, who will be eligible to use it and how it will be rolled out, will be shared with stakeholders in the coming months. 

Bats in Churches Project News March 2018 

The pilot phase of the Bats in Churches Project is coming to an end. Our application for a grant of £3.8 million to allow the five year project to go ahead will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in June 2018. 
 
The project team would like to thank the hundreds of people who have taken part in the development phase of the project. Our trial has shown that there is great potential to transform support for church communities with bats, creating effective bat management solutions and getting new audiences involved in caring for their church and natural heritage. 
 
We are very grateful to the three Bats in Churches pilot church communities - All Saints Braunston-in-Rutland, All Saints Swanton Morley and Holy Trinity Tattershall - for agreeing to trial solutions during the development phase of the project. 
 
Thank you also to all 100 participating project churches for volunteering to take part in this project and for hosting ecologist visits to help us understand more about church issues with bats. 
 
We will announce the results of our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in Autumn 2018. 
Child and bat misericord at Dundblane (photo by Anne Youngman)
Next steps: 
 
If you would like to receive all future news and updates emails, please contact us on bats.churches@naturalengland.org.uk 
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