Protected Mammals

Some of our native mammals are protected under European and/or national law. Consequently, whenever, a land use change is being contemplated it is usually necessary to give due regard to the presence of protected mammals.

Bats

Hibernating Brown Long-eared Bat          © Claudia Gebhardt

All bats are European Protected Species (EPS) and are strictly protected under European and UK law (as described above for GCN).  Indeed, even surveys designed to establish the status of bats at a site need to be licensed if there is a risk of significant disturbance to the animals, e.g. a visit to a bat roost.

Planning committees are obliged to ensure that development proposals do not contravene this legislation and so Environmental Statements accompanying such applications need to consider the likelihood of adverse impacts on bats.

Clyde Ecology offers, 1. fully-licensed bat surveys to meet the need for baseline information,  2. advice on likely impacts and, 3. mitigation solutions needed to reduce any such impacts to an acceptable level.

Otter

The European Otter Lutra lutra is another European Protected Species afforded the same high level of protection as described for bats and GCNs. Not only are the animals themselves strictly protected, but so are their holts and other shelters.

Otters can however, be highly secretive and can exist un-noticed virtually anywhere in Britain where there is a good supply of their fish prey. This means that it is easy to unintentionally disturb otters at waterbodies and waterways where there have been no recorded sightings.

Whenever otter has been identified as a potential constraint during scoping, planning committees will seek the view of SNH/NE on whether a proposed development is likely to have an adverse impact on the species.

In order for SNH/NE and other relevant consultees to advise the planning authority with regard to impacts on otter, it is important to ensure that an appropriate survey is undertaken to locate any protected otter holt (underground shelter) or couch (above ground shelter).

Otter footprints on riverside mud

Clyde Ecology has considerable experience in conducting otter surveys for development applications, including renewable energy, housing, retail and conservation projects.  Our surveyors are highly skilled in locating the tell-tale field signs that reveal the presence of this secretive animal and, crucially, in finding the protected otter shelters.

Badger

The badger Meles meles is protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.  The main relevance of the Act for developers and land managers is that it is illegal to kill, injure or take a badger, or to interfere in any way with a badger sett, or to disturb a badger while using it’s sett.

This means whenever badgers are raised as a potential constraint during the scoping process, that planning applications need to demonstrate that badger setts will not be significantly affected – or if they are likely to be, that appropriate mitigation has been developed.

As with the other protected mammals, Clyde Ecology has the expertise needed to establish if badgers are present and to locate their setts.

Water Vole

Water voles are listed in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countyside Act 1981 (as amended) and, as such, the animals, their nests and burrows are afforded full legal protection. It is an offence to kill or harm a water vole; to deliberately or recklessly  destroy or damage a water vole shelter; or to disturb a water vole in its shelter.

Currently, there are no licences available that permit development and so it is crucial to locate water vole colonies whenever development proposals involve potential disturbance to wetland habitats where the species may be present.

Water Voles are often detected by finding the characteristic latrines

Clyde Ecology has conducted many surveys to establish the presence or likely absence of water voles.  If the species is found to be present, we can advise on the legal position and the measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects and comply with the law.

Red Squirrel

As with the water vole, red squirrel is listed in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countyside Act 1981 (as amended) and, as such, the animals and their dreys are  afforded full legal protection. It is an offence to kill or harm a red squirrel; to deliberately or recklessly  destroy or damage a red squirrel drey; or to disturb a red squirrel in its shelter.

There are no licences available that permit development and so it is crucial to locate any red squirrel dreys whenever development proposals involve tree felling in forest habitats where they are present.

© T. Norman Tait

Clyde Ecology undertakes surveys to establish the presence or likely absence of red squirrels.  If the species is found to be present, we can advise on the legal position and the measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects and comply with the law.

It is often not easily apparent whether squirrel dreys belong to red squirrels or the unprotected grey squirrel.  Clyde Ecology will use both camera trap technology and the microscopic analysis of hair samples to determine which species is present on your site.