People in London have devised with a unique way to block cameras that enforce emissions standards: They’re luring bats.

In London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone or ULEZ, people with vehicles that fail to meet certain emissions standards are asked to pay 12.50 pounds per day to drive within the zone. Cameras help enforce the rule. A social media post said, detractors are pushing back by installing bat boxes — roosts for the flying mammals — that can’t be legally removed.

“ULEZ protesters covering cameras with bat boxes. Authorities not allowed to remove under their own law,” read a March 31 Instagram post.

(Screenshot from Instagram)

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News outlets reported in March that bat boxes were installed under number plate recognition cameras in London areas Chessington and North Cheam. British law protects bat species and their roosts. According to the Bat Conservation Trust, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to bat conservation, the following could be considered criminal offenses:

But there are cases when bat boxes can be removed.

“You need a licensed bat (worker) to carry out a check on a bat box but that does not mean they cannot be legally removed with the correct authority,” said Joe Nuñez-Miño, communications and fundraising director for the Bat Conservation Trust, in an email to PolitiFact. He said the licensing authority — in this case Natural England — has the “power to make decisions based on the evidence available.” 

Natural England, a public body that advises the government for England’s natural environment, licenses people who want to “carry out work that may affect bats.”

How likely bats are to bat boxes depends on factors including their surrounding habitat, available alternative roosting sites and how the boxes were placed. 

“In this case, it seems highly unlikely that the bat boxes will be occupied,” Nuñez-Miño said. “While we don’t have the details of where these bat boxes have been placed, it is highly unlikely that bat boxes next to busy roads will be used by any bat species. The noise and artificial light would act as a powerful deterrent and the bat boxes are likely to remain unoccupied.”

A Transport for London spokesperson told PolitiFact that the agency is working with environmental specialists to remove the boxes. According to Transport for London, it is illegal to install materials on its infrastructure without consent. 

We rate the claim that authorities cannot legally remove bat boxes covering ULEZ cameras False.

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