Why does the law protect bats over churches?
THE UK has 18 species of bats. Reliable information about their population levels is difficult to come by, but some of these species may be endangered. Whatever their numbers, there is no doubt that these creatures are unwittingly causing irreparable cultural damage. As a combined result of protective legislation and the conversion of agricultural buildings, there has been an increase in the populations of bats now occupying our 16,000 historic parish churches.
These buildings are artistic treasure houses and thus also objects of tourism—a muchvisited church providing an economic boost to local shops and pubs. Bats, however, unless properly managed, damage the contents that make these buildings so special.