Protected Species Survey: Otters

Otter, Elizabeth Dack 1/1
Otters and their holts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

Initial survey

During a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) our licenced ecologists will assess whether a site has, or is near to, suitable water bodies that could support otter. This includes searching for spraints, footprints, slides, holts and potential resting places. If field signs suggest otter are using the site then we will recommend a presence/likely absence survey.

Further surveys

Presence/likely absence surveys involve a detailed inspection of the bank and associated habitat of suitable water bodies on or near the site. Such surveys can be undertaken any time of year although vegetation cover and weather may limit times when they can be completed.  


Once a survey is complete a full impact assessment of the proposed development on otter is made and an appropriate mitigation strategy devised. This may involve working with clients on site design and layout, or conducting work under a Method Statement to prevent disturbance and injury. If disturbance or destruction of a holt is unavoidable then a European Protected Species Licence (EPSL) is required.