Bats in the belfry? £3.8million fund given to winged creatures in churches

Batty idea? The £3.8million project will last for five years (Twitter/HeritageLottery)
Batty idea? The £3.8million project will last for five years (Twitter/HeritageLottery)

£3.8million of National Lottery cash is to be spent on a new project aimed at helping bats and church congregations live together in harmony.

The Heritage Lottery Fun (HLF) has released the cash to support the five-year Bats in Churches project, a partnership between Natural England, the Church of England, Bat Conservation Trust, Historic England and the Churches Conservation Trust.

It is hoped that the project will help bridge the gap between bat conservation and the protection of historic churches, whose congregations aren’t always happy to share their place of worship with the winged creatures.

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Bat droppings can cause damage as well as inconvenience, creating extra work for those who help with the day-to-day running of England’s churches, which provide a place for bats to roost and hibernate.

With the UK’s bat population currently at risk thanks to a reducing number of woodland habitats, the bat population has a lot to gain from this initiative.

Natural England’s Chairman, Andrew Sells, said: “We’ve been working very hard for a number of years with our partners to find ways to help bats and people coexist peacefully in these beautiful, historic buildings.

“This funding will allow us to really capitalise on that good work and find innovative new ways of resolving the age-old conflict.”

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