Bats and Licenses

Here is some guidance on bats & licensing in Northern Ireland

Bats and their roosts are protected by law throughout Ireland and Great Britain. This means that bats should not be disturbed at any time no matter where they are. Roosts are also protected at all times regardless of whether bats are present or absent.

Anyone in Northern Ireland wishing to carry out work on any structure which may interfere with the bats or their roost should first contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency for guidance. If bats are discovered during works, all activity should cease until advice is sought from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.


1. To exclude bats from domestic dwellings

This license allows you to safely exclude bats from returning to your attic or cavity wall. This can only be carried out from September onwards and a licensed, qualified & experienced ecologist should carry out the exclusion or you run the risk of the bats returning and the process will need to be repeated. The ecologist will also need to provide suitable new roosting features to compensate for loss of the roost.

2. To exclude bats for the purpose of development 

This license is for buildings marked for renovation, demolition or replacement dwellings, barns or trees host to bats to make way for a development. Again exclusions can only be carried out from September onwards (some cases an emergency license can be obtained if there is high risk of building or trees failing). A licensed, qualified & experienced ecologist should carry out the exclusion and mitigation to ensure the loss of roost is compensated.

3. License to disturb or take bats for the purposes other than development 

Volunteer bat roost visitors may be required to visit a property where bats have been discovered in order to advise the property owner on the implications of the presence of bats and to encourage a favourable outcome
for the conservation of bats. The visit is normally undertaken at the request of NIEA. A licence is required to carry out this work which may require the volunteer bat worker to examine or handle bats in their roost. The licence meets all the requirements of a bat worker who may need to examine or
handle bats in their roosts. Where an applicant has little or no experience of handling bats the licence may be issued for disturbance only, not handling.

To train for this license, you must:

– Be a member of the Northern Ireland Bat Group to cover insurance

– Agree to attend 10 roost visits with your trainer

– Complete an assessment after the 10 visits, during which you will lead the roost visit.

Your trainer will then recommend you for a license or additional training may be required.

By agreeing to train with us you also agree to conduct roost visits on our behalf for 2 years after obtaining your licence.

Note: this license does not cover bat care. To register as a bat carer, you must start off as an ambulance driver and train under one of our experienced carers. Your trainer will then register you through our umbrella organisation Bat Conservation Trust.

A licence is not required to keep injured or
disabled bats that are obtained legally for the purpose of tending them in order to release them when no longer disabled.

All of our bat carers possess a volunteer bat roost visitor license & we encourage all prospective bat ambulance drivers and bat carers to work towards obtaining this license.

Sections of this license also covers surveying & monitoring for scientific research and commercial surveys for professional ecologists. A separate license should be secured for each survey undertaken that involves disturbance or handling of bats.

Further information

Copies of the three licenses and contact details for NIEA Wildlife Licensing Team can be found at: