Water Vole Surveys & Mitigation

Water Voles are the largest Vole found in the UK, growing up to 12-20cm’s in length. They burrow into soft riverbanks, streams, and ponds, preferring environments with slower flowing water. Water Vole populations were in steep decline because of the introduction of the invasive American Mink and habitat destruction. Because of this Water Vole’s are a protected species under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This means that you cannot intentionally kill a Water Vole or damage its habitat.

Water Vole surveys should be completed between March and September and should be completed before any planned earth works on or around riverbanks, to ensure that no Water Voles will be impacted by works. Surveys should record the presence of any burrows, latrines, droppings, feeding signs, in accordance with the Water Vole mitigation handbook.


Water Vole mitigation techniques are used to prevent earth works from impacting Water Vole populations and habitats. Water Vole mitigation can be achieved by a licenced ecologist via displacement. Water Vole displacement involves removing all vegetation from both riverbanks, this makes the location unappealing to Water Voles as they do not have sufficient food. After at least 5 days has passed burrows may be excavated by hand, removing all Water Vole habitat in excavation area. This process may involve trapping and relocating Water Voles.

Norfolk River Ecology specialise in Water Vole surveys, mitigation plans and displacement.

Contact us to discuss your requirements.


Lottie Williams, Anglian Water

"Even though the site at Ingoldisthorpe has a very functional purpose for us at Anglian, it is proof that there is a way to balance the way we treat and clean water, with broader environmental benefits and as importantly, without the need for expensive carbon-hungry infrastructure. It’s excellent for biodiversity, and does this job for us naturally. We’re already looking at where we can make scheme like this commonplace as a water treatment option in the future as it’s an excellent example of how by working together, we can provide innovative solutions for our treatment processes, ensure they are sustainable for future generations and protect the environment"