Bats and licensing

NatureScot can license certain activities to permit actions that might otherwise constitute an offence against bats or their roosts.

All bat species found in Scotland are classed as European protected species. They receive full protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended). Find out about bats as protected species.

The protection extends to bat roosts. A bat roost is any structure or place that a bat, or group of bats, uses for shelter or protection. As bats return to the same places every year, a bat roost is protected even if no bats are present.

Basic bat surveys don’t require a licence, but you’ll need one to handle or ring bats, or to enter roosts.

Homeowners will require a licence to exclude bats that are causing significant problems in a house. You must also be licensed to carry out minor home repairs or alterations that might affect bats in a property.

A licence can permit planned development works that might affect bats or their roosts to proceed legally.

Most land management practices are unlikely to affect bats or their roosts. But you should apply to us for a licence if your work could otherwise result in an offence in relation to bats.

We may issue a licence to permit tree works where a bat roost is present and no alternative is possible.

We can issue licences for the possession of bats for scientific, research or educational purposes.

You don’t need a licence to:

  • tend a disabled bat
  • kill a seriously injured bat
  • remove bats from the living area of a house


Licensing Team
Telephone: 01463 725 364

Bats in Houses helpline
Telephone: 01463 725 165

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