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. Where a watercourse is present at a site, an assessment for water voles should 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.
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.