Otters and their habitats are fully protected under UK and European law. Developments affecting otters or their resting places will require a European Protected Species Licence prior to the commencement of bank-side works.
Otter surveys are not seasonally constrained and can be undertaken throughout the year, although they can be limited by vegetation cover and weather conditions
Survey methods involve the recording of signs such as footprints, spraints, feeding areas, holts and resting areas, as well as an assessment of the suitability of habitat features to support otters.
Mitigation for otters can include locating site compounds away from riverine habitat, restricting lighting in the area near the watercourse at night and excluding construction workers from these areas. If a proposed development is likely to result in the significant loss of habitat, mitigation may involve habitat creation and the construction of artificial otter holts in sections of the watercourse which will remain unaffected by the works. Sympathetic bridge design and the installation of otter-proof fencing along existing or new roads may also be required to ensure that otters are not forced onto any nearby carriageways during times of high water.
Our ecologists are experienced in otter surveying and can provide expert advice on European Protected Species licensing, as well as mitigation design and implementation. For more information call us on 029 2065 0331.
More information about otters can be found in our article – Things you Otter Know.