Why might you need an otter survey?

Otter are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010) and Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981 as amended) and classified as European protected species under Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. This makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take otters, intentionally or recklessly disturb otters or intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy or obstruct access to their holts, or any place used by the animal for shelter or protection.

As such, it is essential to assess when a proposed development may adversely impact this species, through direct harm or disturbance, particularly where holts are present within 30m of the works. Indirect impacts should also be considered. As such, when proposals lie within close proximity to a watercourse or waterbody which may be suitable to support this species, further survey work may be required.

What should you expect to happen?

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal During the initial PEA survey, habitats on site will be assessed for their suitability to otter. Additional surveys will be recommended where potentially suitable watercourses and waterbodies are present nearby.

Otter Surveys Detailed otter survey is carried out by two surveyors, walking within the watercourse/body where possible. Otters themselves are rarely seen, therefore surveyors look for evidence of otter such as spraint as well as any potential holt locations.

Remote Camera Monitoring Where potential holt sites are identified that may be affected by the development, further survey involving remote monitoring using camera traps may be recommended. This will allow us to gain more detailed information on whether the holt is in use and the type of holt present.

When can surveys be carried out?

Otter surveys can be carried out year round, although may be more successful in the winter months when vegetation has died back.

What experience do E3 have?

The E3 team have broad ranging experience of carrying out watercourse surveys for otter.