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Westminster Hall Debate calls for Government action on bat legislation

The European Union Habitats Directive leaves churches virtually powerless to move bats from their buildings, Minister Richard Benyon MP was told today.

In the Westminster Hall Debate Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner, warned of the irreplaceable church artefacts being destroyed by bat droppings and the huge pressures that mitigation measures put on congregations.

‘Large internal roosts of bats have significant financial and human costs to those who worship in church buildings’

"I cannot believe that the European Commission and the Commissioner would want... to have a situation where within the European Union it is not now possible for congregations to worship in churches which have been going back in this country to the time of (William) the Conqueror because of bat infestations."

In response the Minister agreed that it was clearly not acceptable that people’s rights to worship in church buildings should be affected in such a way and that a way around the legislation needed to be found. He committed to find a quick and effective solution within the framework of the directive, mentioning the current trial of acoustic deterrents being worked on by the University of Bristol. The full debate can be found here.