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Water Vole Legislation
Before 2008 water voles received limited protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) which protected the habitat they occupied, but not the voles themselves. Considerable survey effort highlighted a huge decline in numbers across the UK in the late 90’s. On the 6th April 2008 water voles were granted full protection in England and Wales, under Section 9 of Schedule 5 of the Act, making it an offence to:
Licences may be granted under Section 16 by Natural England to allow activities which would otherwise be classed as an offence:
Activities for which a licence cannot be issued:
Natural England considers that the following actions do not require a licence as no offence is being committed:
Natural England considers that the following actions do require a licence as an offence is being committed:
Therefore a licence is required for trapping or handling, or field surveys that are intrusive or prolonged at a burrow when the surveyor suspects water voles are in occupation.
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)
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European Habitats Regulations
Water voles are not listed on the European Habitats Directive 1992 and so are not protected by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (Habitats Regulations).
For Further Information please visit the Natural England website