Miss McIntosh: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what the policy of the Church Commissioners is on dealing with bats in churches; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Tony Baldry: The Church of England has some 6,400 churches with bats living in them. While small numbers of bats can easily co-exist with church congregations, where there are large roosts the effect on the congregation and fabric of the building can be intolerable.
The Church recognises that for an increasing number of parish churches many bat roosts have now become so large that they are disruptive to the life of the parish and the wider community who regularly use the building. In these situations extensive and regular cleaning is required to allow the church to continue to be in active public use at great expense to the parish. Sensitive cleaning and conservation work is also required to protect nationally important monuments and treasures from becoming stained or corroded.
The Church encourages all parishes to engage productively with all interested parties; however, recognition needs to be made that these buildings are open to the public on a daily basis, are places where food is often served and an appropriate level of hygiene will be expected.
St Hilda’s, Ellerburn is one of the worst affected churches in the country. In 2011 the parish took the unprecedented step of closing the church and worshipping in a tent in the churchyard, having come to the view that the church building was no longer a clean and welcoming environment. This situation is not one the Church of England would like to see replicated in other churches and it is attempting to seek resolution through ongoing conversations with the Government and Natural England.
Via: Parliament UK