From the Church of England Newspaper:
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.