£20,000 Fine for Destroying a Bat Roost
In 2018, London builders, Knightspur Homes, were convicted of illegally destroying three bat roosts for financial gain, leading to a record fine under the ‘Proceeds of Crime’ act, of £20, 321. Knightspur were given just 7 days to pay the fine.
Most fines are much lower. Ranging from as little as £200 through to around £5000, depending on the scope of damage to the bat colonies and the prior knowledge or warnings given to the individuals and companies involved. In the case of Knightspur and others who have had large fines imposed, they ignored notices and formal recommendations to get a licence from Natural England.
It’s not just new buildings and existing building maintenance that poses a danger to bat roosts. Bats also roost in trees.
Tree surgeons should be aware of potential roosts before felling a tree or removing any branches and as a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to seek advice first if you plan to have any work done on a tree that hosts a roost. When reported to the police, these cases are usually treated with a formal caution or ‘restorative justice’ as opposed to prosecution. Restorative justice is where police officers are encouraged to deal with minor offences outside of the criminal system.