Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bats in the Belfry - still? Lambeth Palace will host a conference on bats who live in England's churches

From the Church of England Newspaper:

LAMBETH PALACE will play host to a conference on bats and buildings in November that will look at ways of accommodating churchgoers and the winged mammals roosting in Britain’s churches, the Second Church Estates Commissioner told Parliament last week.

On September 14 the member for Mid Norfolk, Mr. George Freeman (Cons.) asked the Church Estates Commissioner Mr. Tony Baldry what costs had been incurred by churches “with conditions attached to planning permissions in respect of bats,” and the numbers and costs of damages caused by bat infestations in Norfolk churches.

Mr. Baldry stated the Church Commissioners possessed no figures on the total costs “to parishes in Norfolk of getting the necessary bat surveys done before work on the fabric of church buildings can be started, nor of the total cost borne by parishes in mitigating the damage caused by bats in Norfolk churches.”

However, the average costs to conduct an ecological survey ranged from £1,000 and £2,000, he said. The cost of cleaning was also high, he said giving the example of St Andrew’s Church in Holme Hale, Nor- folk, “one of the worst affected in the country,” which last year “paid £2,600 in cleaning costs to clear up after its resident bats.”

Mr. Baldry stated the damage caused by bats was “incalculable, mainly because in many cases it is irreversible.”

The Church Buildings Council was working closely with Natural England and DEFRA “to try and find ways of mitigating the burden to churches within the law, and is currently conducting a pilot project in Norfolk to explore ways of encouraging the bats to find alternative accommodation by, for example, the use of bat boxes outside on the eaves.”

The results of this study would be presented at a conservation conference held at Lambeth Palace in November,” he said.

“Norfolk has the highest number of medieval churches in Europe,”  Mr. Baldry said, and “in many instances bats and congregations can co-exist quite happily. The problems and costs escalate where the bats occupy churches in large numbers,” the second church estates commissioner observed.


Pageantmaster said...

Bats in the belfry at Lambeth Palace. Why am I not surprised? Oh well.

Tregonsee said...

I would not have placed this on the list of the top ten things the CoE should be worrying about.

Sibyl said...

So apropro.

Actually, there's an up side to breeding bats. Guano (bat dung) is actually quite useful and highly-prized as a fertilizer. Might be mined and sold (think high per plate charity auctions, where effete gardeners can boast that the manure that grew their prize primroses and lilacs came from this or that lovely prestigious cathedral) to offset maintenance costs of these buildings.

Conversely, the batty bad 'isms' (syncretism, pansexualism and its by-product, abortion) being bandied by bogus bishops in some buildings is the opposite of useful and truly defiles the churches.

Robin G. Jordan said...

I lived in Seely Suffolk, Holy Suffolk, which is the neighbouring county to Norfolk. Bats are a problem in the churches in the two counties which are centuries old. Suffolk is called Seely Suffolk due to the large number of churches that were built as chantries in Medieval times in the county. The age of the buildings, climatic changes, bats, small or non-existent congregations makes the churches both hard and expensive to maintain.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest some inhabitants for the proposed bat boxes...

Lapinbizarre said...

Background - bats are protected by law in the UK. So if you've got them, you have a problem that cannot be solved by eliminating them.

[I'm not condemning this, by the way - bats perform a wonderful flying bug control service down here in the S E US]