The water vole is a UK Priority species and is included on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This protects places of shelter and protection, but does not protect the water voles themselves. Otter receive protection under both the Wildlife & Countryside Act and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. Otters and their resting places are fully protected, it is an offence to deliberately, capture, injure or kill them or to damage, destroy or obstruct their breeding or resting places. It is also an offence to disturb otters in their breeding or resting places.
When considering planning applications, the authorities are required by law to take account of protected species and the conservation of habitats. A detailed ecological survey is usually required before planning permission can be granted.
As both otter and water vole utilise watercourses surveys of both species can often be undertaken at the same time. Sonar Ecology can undertake surveys for both of these species and advise of the best course of action should their presence be found.