Protected Species Survey: Water voles
Water vole, Kevin Anderson
Water vole are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
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 water vole. This includes searching for latrines, droppings, burrows, feeding stations, footprints and runs. If field signs and suitable habitat suggest water vole are using the site then our ecologists will recommend a presence/likely absence survey.
Presence/likely absence surveys involve a detailed inspection of the bank and associated habitat of suitable water bodies on or near the site. Surveys are undertaken between March and September/October when water voles are active.
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 destruction of water vole habitat is unavoidable then water voles will need to be removed from the area, which is done under a class licence.