Water voles populations have substantially declined or become locally extinct in many areas due to habitat loss and predation by introduced American mink. The water vole is now fully protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is a priority conservation species.
Advice from a suitably qualified ecologist should be sought where any work is being undertaken that may harm water voles or damage their habitat.
Water vole surveys assess the presence of animals from sightings and/or (more commonly) field signs such as burrows, droppings and latrines, feeding remains, footprints and pathways. We follow the methodology advocated in the Water Vole Mitigation Handbook.
Water vole surveys are best carried out at certain times of year, so forward planning can help reduce costs and prevent delays further down the line. Download our ecological survey calendar for more information.