Absolute Ecology | Water Vole Surveys
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Water Vole Surveys

Water Vole Surveys

This survey will be carried out by an experienced ecologist and an assistant following the standard methodology. This involves searching the banks of the watercourse for evidence of water voles including: burrows, latrines, footprints, runs in the vegetation, grazed ‘lawns’, feeding remains and actual sightings.

To accompany the survey a desk-based study will be undertaken by the local biological record centre to identify and record otters within the local area, this will aid in the surveying exercise.

Following completion of the water vole survey and the desktop study, a report would be produced detailing the survey methodology and results, as well as general mitigation measures and licensing requirements. This would be suitable for submission with a planning application.

Mitigation and licensing for water vole Should water voles be present within or in close proximity to a development site, where it is likely that the water voles will be either disturbed or harmed, a licence from Natural England may be required.


The water vole breeding season runs from April to September, so this is the ideal time to conduct water vole surveys.


Water voles are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Water voles are protected against intentional killing, capture or injury and intentional or reckless disturbance, obstruction, damage or destruction or their burrows. If water voles or their burrows are found after works start, all works must stop immediately to avoid breaking the law.

Water voles are species of principal importance under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, and local authorities and other public bodies have a legal duty to take their conservation into account. They are also a material consideration in the planning process.