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Church of England Press Release on Bats in Churches

New research to help churches burdened with bats

13 March 2014

The results of a three year research programme on managing large bat colonies in churches has revealed that lights and acoustic devices have a role to play in directing of bats away from churches.

The Church Buildings Council and the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, have welcomed the research but call for practical action to use the knowledge gained to lighten the burden on parishes living with bats.

Results of this research programme by Bristol University were discussed this morning at a meeting with Lord De Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The meeting was described by Sir Tony as highly constructive.  The research has revealed that lights and acoustic devices used properly can have an effective role to play in directing bats from areas where their presence is most disruptive to worship and hospitality. The full research will be published by DEFRA shortly.

An initiative by Natural England to experiment with “lighter touch licences” where churches are doing building work is also expected by the end of the month.

A third initiative, funded by English Heritage, will allow Natural England to find ways of translating the University of Bristol’s research into practical and affordable measures to help churches.

Anne Sloman OBE, Chair of the Church Buildings Council said:

“Bats in churches are no joke for those who have to clean up the mess behind. Their presence in large numbers is making it impossible for us to open churches for a whole variety of social and community uses as well as making life miserable for worshippers, and we are seriously worried about the irreparable damage bats are causing to priceless church artefacts.

“We are grateful to DEFRA for undertaking this research and to Natural England for listening to our concerns, but the research will only be value for public money if it leads to practical solutions being implemented as soon as possible.”

Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner said:

“The research has been helpful, but what we now need is action to ensure that church congregations can worship without being concerned about the impact of bat faeces and urine.”

March 14, 2014   Comments Off

Bats in Churches – Debate in Westminster Hall – 25 June 2013

July 2, 2013   Comments Off


The Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, together with other senior members of the Church of England, recently met the Environment Minister, Richard Benyon MP, to press for action on the continuing problem of bats in churches. A report of the visit – “Churches are paying the price of bat conservation” –  can be found on the Norwich Diocese’s website, www.norwich.anglican.org. Enter ‘Churches are paying the price of bat conservation’ in the search box.

March 7, 2013   Comments Off