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Thomson Ecology HandbookWater vole surveys

TEH Index

Part 1: Legal frameworks

Part 2: Planning policy and other guidance

Part 3: Development and features of biodiversity importance

Part 4: Surveys and assessment

Part 5: Mitigation and enhancement

Part 6: Practical techniques

Water vole surveys

(England, Wales and Scotland only)

Any watercourse within a proposed development site should be assessed for its potential to support water voles. For water vole surveys, the habitat is generally recorded by mapping key features such as bank material, amount and type of marginal vegetation, amount of shading from trees and water depth and width. In addition, signs of water vole occupation and activity are recorded. These include burrows, droppings, runs in vegetation and signs of feeding.

From these two sets of information it is possible to estimate the actual and possible numbers of water voles living along the watercourse. Water vole surveys can be undertaken between mid-April and September. Recently published guidelines specify 2 visits; 1 from Mid-April to June, 1 from July to September.

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Water vole surveys