Water Vole & Otter Surveys

Water Vole and Otter Surveys across Surrey, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire

Water Vole Surveys -
 Current Status and why they are protected

Water voles are fully protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This legislation makes it an offence to kill or injure water voles and to damage, destroy or obstruct access to places used for protection or shelter and do disturb water voles whilst they occupy such a place. The water vole is also a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and has been adopted as a Species of Principle Importance in England under the NERC Act 2006.

Darwin Ecology Water Vole Services:

  • Water Vole surveys
  • Survey and mitigation licence application
  • Habitat design and creation
Water Vole Field Signs Survey Guidance

Water Vole Surveys


Surveys for water vole generally involve searching for characteristic water vole field signs such as latrines, burrows and footprints along the edge of a water body. Use our water vole sure and mitigation calendar to help plan your work schedule.

Mitigation





If water voles are present on site, planning permission may be refused unless it is clearly demonstrated that the water voles will be protected during the development process and that disturbance will be kept to a minimum. 

Development planning should ensure that every effort has been made to ensure that water voles and their habitats are retained and protected in situ. If this is not feasible, suitable mitigation strategies must be designed prior to any works and a mitigation licence will be required.

Licensing




A survey or mitigation licence is required whenever disturbance to water voles or damage to their habitats is likely to occur. In most cases, such licenses are awarded for conservation and not development purposes. In England, survey licences are issued by Natural England. 

For more information on Water Mole surveys in the South and South-West contact us now.

Otter Surveys -
 Current Status and why they are protected

Otters are protected by both the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. This legislation makes it illegal to; deliberately or recklessly kill, injure or capture an otter, deliberately or recklessly disturb or harass an otter, damage, destroy or obstruct access to a breeding site or resting place of an otter. The otter is also a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Species and has been adopted as a Species of Principle Importance in England under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006. 

Darwin Ecology Otter Services:

  • Otter Surveys
  • Otter holt creation
  • Habitat design and creation
  • Installation of Otter proof fencing
  • European Protected Species licence application

Otter Surveys




A qualified ecologist would search for otter field signs; primarily foot prints alongside the riverside and sprints deposited within the boundary of the otter’s territory. A typical otter survey involves not only the watercourse immediately affected by the development but also an additional 2km upstream and downstream. 

Surveys can be undertaken at any time of year. Use our otter survey and mitigation calendar above to help plan your works schedule

Mitigation




If signs of otters are identified on site, developers must demonstrate that otters will be protected during the development process and that disturbance will be kept to a minimum. Mitigation measures may involve; taking suitable actions to avoid impacting otter habitat, creation of new holts, improving habitat connectivity, compensatory planting and habitat creation and installation of otter proof fencing.

Licensing


A European Protected Species licence would be required for any works that significantly disturb otters such as the destruction of their habitats. It should be noted that Natural England will only authorise the destruction of an otter holt in exceptional circumstances. In England, survey licences are issued by Natural England.

For more information on Otter surveys in the South and South-West contact us now.

Southern Office - Farnham, Surrey

Helen Cavilla
Ecologist
01252 449 512
07701 370 762
helen@darwin-ecology.co.uk

Laura Ashford
Ecologist
01252 449 512
07525 134 803
laura@darwin-ecology.co.uk

South West Office - Shaftesbury

Michael Cummings
Director
01252 449 512
07748 843 842
Contact Us
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