MP calls for action to protect churches

A Norfolk MP has called on the government to take greater steps to protect historic churches.Christopher Fraser, MP for south west Norfolk, expressed his concern to a representative of the Church Commissioners about the damage caused by bats in rural churches during a question and answer session at the House of Commons.

A Norfolk MP has called on the government to take greater steps to protect historic churches.

Christopher Fraser, MP for south west Norfolk, expressed his concern to a representative of the Church Commissioners about the damage caused by bats in rural churches during a question and answer session at the House of Commons.

The Conservative MP later admitted to being “shocked” by the Church Commissioners' admission that they have made no assessment of the harm that droppings can cause to the fabric and artefacts of the historic buildings.

“It seems extraordinary that the commissioners are showing so little interest in the damage caused by bats, particularly given the evidence that this is a worrying and expensive problem across the church estate,” he said.

“It is quite right that bats are given the highest level of protection, but this should not come at such a cost to our church heritage.

“A balance must be found to help the volunteers who have to clear up the mess before every service and who clearly are being taken for granted at the highest level.”

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Mr Fraser launched his war on bat droppings last year after visiting St Andrew's Church, in Holme Hale, near Swaffham, and discovering the extent of damage caused to furnishings and distress to worshippers. He is seeking a meeting with the Department for the Environment to find a way forward.