Water voles

Water voles and their habitat are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.Water voles have suffered a dramatic decline in numbers in recent decades as a result of habitat loss and predation by American mink.

Initial Assessment

As the water vole is a protected species, in cases of developments involving riparian habitats environmental assessments should check for the presence of this species.  A combination of field survey and desktop study searches should be undertaken.

Further Survey Work

Further surveys will involve the close inspection of watercourses recording signs of water vole trails, feeding signs, latrines and burrows.

Licence Application

Development affecting water vole habitat is not licensable, to avoid committing an offence, steps must be taken to minimise damage to water vole habitat or, ideally, avoid it altogether by a sensitive design approach.

Survey Timings

Water vole surveys are normally carried out between April and October when animals are most active. The peak in the survey season is September when population levels are high following the summer breeding season.

To discuss your survey requirements contact DWS -

01388 488 885


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