You may need an otter survey in order for your planning application to be successful. Our team has experience in surveying for otters, conducting Phase II surveys and supplying the necessary mitigation strategies needed to get your sites planning permission granted without delay.


Where do Otters live?

Otter are a largely nocturnal semi-aquatic species that are heavily associated with rivers, canals, brooks, streams and other water courses. Otter will often venture to suitable areas away from these habitats for foraging purposes (such as fish stocked ponds), or seek quieter areas to raise their young (known as natal areas).

Otter dens (or holts) are often found along the banks of water courses, often taking the form of a burrow or similar sheltered structure such as a hollow beneath fallen tree roots, a cave or other natural hole. These areas are where otter take shelter and breed. Otter may also use temporary resting sites or shelter known as ‘couches’.

Why are Otters protected?

Otters are protected because of their significant population decline since the middle-late 20th century, which was largely fuelled by fatalities caused by water pollution from agricultural chemicals, microplastics, and heavy metals (e.g. mercury). Given that the diet of an otter revolves around fish and crustaceans, otters were and still do directly consume pollutants as a part of their diet.

Today, otters are in continued decline largely as a result of water pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, road accidents and human persecution, to name a few. Due to their vulnerability, otters are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

What happens on a Otter Survey?

Surveys carried out will illustrate how otters and water voles are present and currently using the site, and what (if any) mitigation measures can be employed to minimise impact to their sites.

Should there be a watercourse at or near to a development site, an otter survey should be carried out to assess it’s potential to support otters.

Otter surveys can be carried out at any time of the year, although best carried out when bankside vegetation is low, when evidence is easier to find. Evidence of otters includes dung (spraints), footprints, feeding remains, slides into water, underground dens (holts) and above ground resting sites (couches).

What happens if Otters are present on my site?

For sites where otters are confirmed to be present, suitable mitigation, avoidance or compensation measures may need to be provided to ensure that there are no negative impacts upon otters locally, in adherence with wildlife law and legislation.

Please refer to our Ecology Survey Calendar for further information on otter and other protected species surveys.

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Wharton undertook an initial bat survey which identified suitable areas for roosting bats and evidence of bat activity (droppings).



Wharton undertook a preliminary ecological appraisal, bat activity and emergence/return to roost surveys, and completed a shadow Habitat …

Wharton undertook an initial bat survey which identified suitable areas for roosting bats and evidence of bat activity (droppings).

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