Why might you need freshwater surveys?
In addition to otter and water vole, there are a number of other species of flora and fauna that are protected by UK legislation or listed as species of national or local importance that may need to be considered as part of a development or other works that affect a watercourse. These include:
Freshwater Pearl Mussel Freshwater pearl mussel are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981 as amended), which makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take them and to intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by the species for shelter or protection or to disturb them while they are using such a place. They are also a National Priority species.
White-Clawed Crayfish White-clawed crayfish receive partial protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981 as amended). This makes it an offence to take a white-clawed crayfish from its habitat and to sell, offer for sale, advertise for sale, possess or transport for the purposes of selling any live or dead white-clawed crayfish. They are also a National Priority species.
Non-native species, such as the signal crayfish, are listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981 as amended) and as such it is illegal to release or allow to escape into the wild these animals.
Fish In addition, there are a number of other key National Priority and Local Biodiversity Action Plan species present within the UK, including brown/sea trout, Atlantic salmon, European eel, river lamprey and sea lamprey.
All of these species, and others, are material considerations within the planning system and it is essential to assess when a proposed development may adversely impact these species either directly or indirectly through pollution or disturbance. As such, when works are proposed within or in close proximity to watercourses or waterbodies which are suitable to support these species, further survey work may be required.
Works within or adjacent to watercourses and waterbodies also have potential to impact on water quality and anyone undertaking such works has a responsibility to ensure that adverse impacts are avoided.