Water voles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take water voles or intentionally or recklessly disturb them or damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by the animal for shelter or protection.
It is important to consider the presence of water voles within your site, especially if there are watercourses. Even if watercourses are not being directly impacted, water vole are also susceptible to indirect impacts such as vibrations from machinery and pollution.
Process for your site:
A preliminary ecological appraisal identifies the suitability of your site for water voles and advises further surveys.
A Habitat Suitability Assessment is undertaken upon watercourses on site a within 10 m to determine likely use by water vole.
Suitable watercourses then require further assessment over two survey visits. A systematic search of the banks and immediately adjacent habitat is undertaken. Evidence of water vole presence, such as: droppings, latrines, footprints, burrows, and feeding signs are recorded. A population estimate is then calculated based upon these findings.
Where water vole are present and likely to be impacted by works, a licence is required. Our ecologists have extensive experience and hold licences for both water vole displacement and translocation. We will work with you to come to the appropriate solution for your site. and gain the relevant Natural England development licences.
Habitat Suitability Assessment : year round
Survey of watercourses : mid-April – September (two visits, one from mid-April to June and one from July to September)