Water Vole Surveys

Water voles are one of the most rapidly disappearing animals in the UK and since 2008 they and their burrows have been fully protected by law. They are found along rivers and streams and in areas like reedbeds and to establish if they use a site it is necessary to do two survey visits one between March and June and one between July and October to take account of the fact they use different areas at different times of year. Surveys are done by mapping signs of water voles such as burrows, footprints and droppings and can be used to work out how any proposed work on site might affect them.

Because of their legal protection any development work that may affect water voles is likely to require special measures – see protected species licencing and mitigation. Also because they are declining and are rare in many areas planning authorities may want to see work to improve an area for water voles as a condition of planning permission – see creating and managing wildlife habitat.

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