Water vole (Arvicola amphibius) is the largest British species of vole found in Britain. They are protected in the UK due to their rapidly declining population which is threatening their widespread survival due to the loss and fragmentation of suitable habitats and predation by the American Mink (Neovison vison). Water vole are legally protected in the UK under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
As such, this makes it an offence to intentionally, kill, capture or injure a water vole; damage, destroy or obstruct access to places of shelter or protection and to disturb voles while they are using such a place.
In addition, water vole are a Species of Principal Importance under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 in England, Wales and Scotland (water vole are absent from Ireland) ensuring that local planning authorities should have regard for them when determining planning applications.
If water vole are likely to be affected there are a number of simple measures available to minimise risk. For example, features used by water voles (such as wetland/ditches/ponds) could be retained and incorporated into the development design or works can be carried out at an appropriate time of year to avoid disturbance of vital habitat. Where this is not practical alternative solutions are available under licence and our experienced team can provide advice where this is required.
Our services include:
- Habitat suitability assessment.
- Presence / absence survey.
- Population estimate, which should be completed April – October (optimal survey season) but signs can be identified all year round.
- Reporting of field surveys including the design of detailed mitigation and compensation strategies, Risk Assessments in relation to proposed operations, Working Method Statements,
- Liaison with planning authorities and consultees on potential impacts and proposed mitigation strategies.
- Production of conservation licence application documents.
- Implementation of all aspects of proposed mitigation and compensation using specialist Water vole Ecological Clerks of Works.
- Trapping and translocation.
- Population monitoring.