Bats ruining medieval churches because of barn conversions, Bishop of Norwich warns

A bat. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A bat. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bats are ruining churches because of barn conversions, the Bishop of Norwich has warned.

Speaking in the House of Lords earlier this week, the Rt Rev Graham James said bats were forced into the county's churches because of the increase in old barns being transformed into homes.

He said: 'All over Norfolk there are barns once used by bats which have been turned into beautiful homes for human beings. And their new owners do not want to share their property with them. So the bats have moved to medieval churches.'

He was speaking in support of a bat conservation Bill, sponsored by Conservative peer Lord Cormack.

'I think we tolerate this because we think houses of God are not inhabited,' he said. 'Butt hey are, and not only by God - they are inhabited by people.'

He said bat droppings can damage church fittings and require intensive cleaning by volunteers.

The Bill would remove bat protection in churches unless there was no 'significant adverse impact' and prevent new building without a local bat survey.