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Defenders of bats in ecclesiastical buildings

by
27 June 2014

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From Mrs Catherine M. Ward
Sir, - The lobby who advocate "living amicably with our bats" (Letters, 20 June) and offer trite advice simply do not appreciate the extent of problems that occur in churches when bats have nursery roosts within the building.

Bat excreta cause untold damage to historic artefacts, fabric, and furnishings. Church members make huge efforts (financial and practical) to keep their churches in good order for worshippers and visitors. Grant bodies' money is often wasted when excreta damage occurs.

Many community events are now taking place in churches, especially where village amenities have been cut. A bat-infested church is immediately excluded, as it presents a health hazard, and large areas have to be swathed in polythene and cloths as protection from droppings and urine. No other public building would be allowed to tolerate such filth and damage.

Bats are wild mammals with natural instincts who are constantly seeking new roosting sites while they forage. They can adapt to modern buildings, and have had an inordinate amount of money spent on hotels and other special roosting sites for them. Exclusion from a church is not going to kill them.

The church building should be regarded as sui generis in this matter. Until that happens, this issue will continue to raise its ugly head every decade, and we will be handing down a tarnished heritage to future generations, because bats have been given the upper hand. Churches were not built for this.

CATHERINE M. WARD
Founder of Movement against Bats in Churches (1992)
4 Framland Drive, Melton Mowbray
Leicestershire LE13 1HY

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