The water vole is in serious rapid decline and much is being done to conserve the species. It is a priority species in the UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan
, and East Anglia is an important national stronghold for the water vole. Therefore it can be considered to be lucky to have these creatures in your garden. It was a water vole which was named “Ratty” in the famous The Wind in the Willows stories.
Water voles have full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
(amended) which means that it is illegal to kill or disturb the shelter of a water vole. Young male water voles disperse from the nest when they are about 4 months old to find new habitats, it is quite common for them to then move on again to a more suitable habitat. Their occupation of small, lined garden ponds tends to be transient and it is most likely that the voles will move on. Water voles can not be moved without a conservation licence issued by Natural England.
For more informatio: www.gov.uk/guidance/water-voles-protection-surveys-and-licences