Rutland Church To Celebrate the End of £5m Bat Scheme: All saints church in Braunston, Rutland hosted an event to celebrate the successful completion of a five-year project that helped bats co-exist with churchgoers.
The 1,000-year-old church found themselves in a “desperate situation” owing to the issues with bat feces until the £5 million Bats in churches scheme intervened.
Bats were using holes in the walls of the church to enter, and then leaving droppings. The church was covered in feces, with excrement found on most walls and floors.
However, after studies, a specialized ecologist came to the conclusion that there was no need for bats to fly inside the church and suggested temporarily blocking the ceiling holes to prevent bats from entering the building from their roost.
The holes were completely blocked in April 2019 after studies revealed this had not reduced the number of bats utilizing the church. Since then, routine inspections have revealed that the soprano pipistrelle colony is still thriving without causing any mess or disturbance within the church.
Sue Willetts, the churchwarden, expressed her joy at being chosen as the scheme’s pilot church.
“Without the help from the project, it’s very likely that the church would have been closed. That’s honestly how desperate the situation had become,” she said.
All Saints is the first church to undertake the scheme, which saw holes permanently filled without disrupting the protected species.
The process has taken five years. The conclusion of the project in October will be marked next month with a multimedia art installation at All Saints.
Bats in Churches has been a partnership between the Church of England, Natural England, the Churches Conservation Trust, Historic England, and the Bat Conservation Trust, with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, reports BBC
Working in more than 100 ancient churches across England, it also ran a citizen science project surveying more than 700 churches for bats.