Ancient churches face major threat - from bats
New European law allows them to be overrun
Medieval churches which survived the “ravages” of the reformation might now have to be abandoned because European law is allowing them to be overrun with bats, the Church of England has warned.
MPs have been told that “irreplaceable” treasures including frescoes which survived the waves of destruction in the 16th Century are now being destroyed by chemicals in bat droppings.
Sir Tony Baldry, the Tory MP who represents the Church of England in the Commons, said that some buildings used for centuries are now in danger of becoming unsustainable as places of worship unless action is taken.
He said that, while it was never the intention of those who drafted the European Habitats Directive, which bans interference with bat roosts, to render churches unusable, that is the result of the way it is currently being interpreted.
Richard Benyon, the environment minister, also disclosed during the debate in Westminster Hall, that the Government is funding tests on new acoustic devices designed to deter the creatures.
Sir Tony said: "For example, the church of St Peter ad Vincula at South Newington in my own constituency has some very fine, almost unique, medieval wall paintings which seem to have been spared by Thomas Cromwell's men.
"But having survived the ravages of the Reformation they are now threatened by bat urine."
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