Bats and churches to benefit thanks to National Lottery
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has approved the development stage and initial funding of £3.8million for the 5 year “Bats in Churches” partnership project, bringing together wildlife and heritage conservation and church organisations to save bats and protect churches.
Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry, Chair of the Church Buildings Council, said:
This grant should help us better manage bats in churches. We are not opposed to bats, they are intriguing creatures and part of God’s creation, but they can do enormous damage in churches. I am delighted that this innovative project can now go ahead.
The partnership includes Natural England, Church of England, Bat Conservation Trust, Historic England and the Churches Conservation Trust.
The ground-breaking project will:
- trial and perfect new techniques to enable bats and church congregations to live together
- build up professional expertise and volunteer skill to share the best solutions with hundreds more churches
- bring together church communities and bat enthusiasts to create a shared understanding and appreciation of England’s historic places of worship and our rare flying mammals
As we know, whilst small bat populations can occupy parts of a church without disturbance, in other cases bats can pose severe financial and social problems for congregations. At a time when churches are increasingly becoming community hubs with a diversity of events and uses, bat droppings can restrict activities, damage historic artefacts, cause hygiene issues and put strain on the volunteers who look after these beautiful buildings. In rare cases large bat roosts have even caused churches to close.