Bats and the law
In England and Wales bats and their roosts are protected in law under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own specific legislation.
Effectively the UK and European legislation means UK bats receive strict protection making it an offence to capture, possess, disturb, kill, injure, or trade in individuals of the species. Additional habitat protection makes it an offence to damage or destroy areas used for breeding or resting.
There are strict penalties in place if bats or their roosts are interfered with in anyway without consultation with Natural England.
Bat Conservation Trust has produced a basic introduction leaflet to the legal protection of bats in the British Isles.