Think you’ve got bats in your rafters? What you need to consider when getting planning permission

Renovating your property is an exciting time, but it also requires a lot of planning, both official and unofficial.

As well as working out what you’re going to do, setting a budget and finding a contractor to assist with the work, you also need to find out if you need planning permission from the council to conduct the work.

If you do need planning permission, then you need to make sure that your plans are submitted correctly and that the property is in good order and suitable for renovation.

One reason why a council might refuse planning permission is if they find that bats are living in the rafters of your property.

Bats and their habitats are protected by UK law, so you can’t renovate or build on a property in which they are nesting.

If you’re concerned about bats ruining your property renovation plans, then here’s what you need to do.

Learn the signs and make sure you know what’s living in your rafters

The first step is to learn the signs that bats might be nesting in your property. These include:

  • Squeaking and scratching in your attic or another dark, elevated space
  • Clicking and chirping sounds
  • Bat droppings, which look like rodent mess but are crumblier and drier
  • Stains on your loft insulation which could be urine
  • A strong smell of ammonia
  • You witness bats entering or leaving your property

Many of the signs of bats are similar to other rodents, so you might want to consider making sure that the pest is definitely bats and not mice or another rodent. Professional bat surveys can tell you if you actually have bats or if it’s some other pest. You can then find out what the best course of action is and how to make your building safe and free from unwanted visitors.  

Understand your options

Should the bat survey comes back positive, and you find out that you do have bats in your home, then it’s crucial that you understand the implications of this. As bats are a protected species, it is illegal to remove bats from their nesting place or destroy their nests in any way. The good news is that bats aren’t dangerous and don’t pose a risk both of attacking humans or spreading diseases to them. However, if you don’t want the bats to nest in your home, then you could consider finding the entry points that the bats are using to enter your property. Then, once you are certain that the bats have left, you can block these entrances to remove their opportunity to enter your home.

Offer an alternative home for the bats

Once you’ve established that there are bats in your property and taken steps to bar their entry, you should consider where they’re going to live now. Bats are territorial, so they will return to their previous roost. Instead of just leaving them to fend for themselves, you could consider giving them an alternative to living in your property. A bat box is a great way to offer bats a place to nest that won’t affect your renovations or have you denyed planning permission by the council. You can even make your own DIY bat boxes. That means you can turn building a home for bats into a fun, family activity. Place the bat boxes on a tree or wall in your garden, so the bats can come and go without disturbing you, your loved ones or your renovation plans.

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