Changes to water vole mitigation licences

In November 21, The Environment Act received Royal assent. Section 111 of the act introduces changes to The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, meaning Natural England will be able to issue wildlife licences for ‘overriding public interest’ for animals and plant species listed on Schedules 5, 6, & 8 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

To date in the absence of suitable licensing purpose for development and mitigation, Natural England has issued licences for displacement or translocation of Schedule 5 species (such as water voles) under the purpose of conserving wild animals. The changes will introduce two new licencing tests: (a) that there is no other satisfactory solution; and (b) that the grant of a licence is not detrimental to the survival of any population of the species to which the licence relates.

Natural England indicate that changes are likely to be introduced in January 2023.

If you need help with water voles and your development, please get in touch to find out how we can help you.