Water Voles

If you are developing a site near to a potential water vole habitat, you will require a water vole survey in order to assess potential activity and presence. The Wharton team are able to support you with your planning application by providing you with the necessary surveys, mitigation plans and reports needed by your local authority.

Water Voles

Where do Water Voles live?

Water voles are found in canals, slow-flowing rivers, streams, ditches, lakes, ponds, marshes and reed-beds; generally living in burrows that can extend up to 2m from the water’s edge. That’s why we recommend where a watercourse is present at a site, an assessment for water voles should be carried out.

Why are Water Voles protected?

One of the main reasons Water Voles are protected is because agricultural intensification in the late twentieth century caused habitat loss and degradation resulting in the fragmentation and isolation of water vole populations in the UK. This was intensified by the escape of American mink from fur farms in the 1950s and 1960s. American mink are small predators and can enter water vole burrows to take their young. Therefore, whole populations of water vole can be wiped out by relatively small numbers of American mink.

Due to the reasons above, water voles have experienced one of the most dramatic and server declines of all our native British mammals. Water voles are listed as endangered on both the Great Britain and the England Red List for Mammals; therefore, they are protected to ensure that their decline is halted and to increase their numbers in the wild.

When can a Water Vole Survey be carried out?

Water vole surveys can be carried out between March and September, with two separate survey visits being required during this time. The potential habitat is assessed for its suitability to support water voles; and evidence of water vole presence (droppings, burrows, latrines, grazed lawns and foraging remains) is examined. An estimation of the probable population size is then made from these results.

What happens if Water Voles are present on my site?

Should water voles be present at a site and expected to be affected or disturbed by a development, appropriate mitigation must be implemented to ensure lawful proceeding of works, as the water voles are legally protected from reckless disturbance under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Please refer to our Ecology Survey Calendar for further information on Water Voles and other protected species surveys. For information on license applications please click here.

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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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