From Mrs Catherine M. Ward
Sir, - The lobby who advocate "living amicably with our bats"
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
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