Why does the law pro­tect bats over churches?

Country Life Every Week - - Athena - Cul­tural Cru­sader

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.

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