Farm Ireland

Friday 24 November 2017

Wanted: Draft-free bat pads

Woodcrete boxes have been recommended for bats
Woodcrete boxes have been recommended for bats
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

TIMBER bat boxes erected outdoors under the GLAS environmental scheme may "disintegrate" within five-years, warned Bat Conservation Ireland.

Farmers taking part in GLAS have opted to erect 80,000 bat boxes at a total payment of €1.04m a year and 90,000 bird boxes worth €540,000, with 180,000ha of permanent pasture conserved.

However, Bat Conservation Ireland spokesperson Tina Aughney has said the long-term impact will depend on how well the 80,000 boxes are made.

"It is wonderful that there is a bat element to the scheme but how great it is for bats will depend on where they are put up and how well," said Ms Aughney, who has been receiving calls from farmers who've opted to erect boxes under the scheme.

"We've seen timber boxes disintegrate after four to five years. Many will say that is the perfect length of the scheme but as a conservation measure for bats it would be great if they'd last longer."

Key factors for farmers to remember is to ensure the boxes are south-facing, draft-free, clear of branches and if homemade, are created out of untreated timber.

The group recommends woodcrete boxes, made from sawdust and concrete, with prices from £25 (€35) online.

"I know £25 is a lot but you'll be getting a product that will do the job," she said.

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Figures show 27,000 applied under the first tranche of applications for GLAS, with €20m set aside for it. The first payments are due in December.

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