By virtue of their inclusion in Schedule 5, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) it is an offence, amongst other things to: i) intentionally kill, injure or take Water Voles; ii) intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to places used by Water Voles for shelter or protection (i.e. their burrows); iii) intentionally or recklessly disturb Water Voles while occupying a place of shelter or protection.
An initial assessment of the potential for a site to support Water Voles is included in the remit of our Preliminary Ecological Appraisal visit. If suitable Water Vole habitat is identified – including rivers, streams, ditches, ponds, lakes or borrowdykes - then a more thorough Water Vole survey for field signs would need to be carried out. During the survey evidence such as feeding stations, latrines and burrows are mapped using EECOS’ survey boat for more efficient coverage, if possible.
The level of activity and the nature of any potential impacts will inform any further course of action, but appropriate measures such as buffer zones, supervision of works and precautionary habitat manipulation can usually be successful if timed correctly. If there is no viable alternative and a Water Vole population has to be displaced, EECOS can assist in obtaining a conservation licence under close consultation with Natural England.
We can also design and implement schemes aimed at the conservation of Water Voles, to secure their return to a catchment or strengthen an existing population.
If you require a quote please send an email to us at email@example.com including a brief description of what is proposed, timescales, site plans and any correspondence received from the Local Planning Authority. Alternatively you can contact us in the office on 01621 862986. We can carry out Water Vole surveys in Essex and surrounding counties, including Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and London.