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Bats: Protection

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's responsibilities are for bat protection; and if he will make a statement. (176148)

As required by the European Habitats Directive, all species of bat and their roosts are afforded protection under regulation 39 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994. The principal offences address deliberate capturing, injuring or killing; deliberate disturbance; damaging or destroying a breeding site or resting place; and possessing, transporting, selling or exchanging live or dead specimens, Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 also affords protection against intentional or reckless obstruction of access to places of shelter or protection; disturbance whilst in occupancy and sale activities, including advertisement for the purpose of sale.

Where justified, exceptions to the legislative protection can be authorised under licences issued by Natural England.

DEFRA also acts as the UK focal point for the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats, also known as the Eurobats Agreement. This Agreement seeks to protect all 45 species of bats identified in Europe, through legislation, education, conservation measures and international co-operation with other range states. The UK Government was instrumental in establishing the agreement and acts as the depositary to it.