Water vole and otter surveys should be undertaken where suitable aquatic habitats are present on, or close to the proposed development site. The need for water vole and otter surveys is normally identified during the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal.
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. Water vole surveys require two survey visits between April and October to search the banks for signs of water voles, such as burrows, latrines or feeding remains.
Otters are fully protected against killing, capture, injury and disturbance, and any places they use for shelter or protection (their holts or dens) are protected against damage, destruction or obstruction, under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Surveys for otters can be undertaken at any time of the year and involve a search of the watercourse for signs of otters such as holts, spraints, footprints and feeding remains.