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Planning and water voles

Water voles are protected by law, through Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and this legislation protects them from being unlawfully killed and also protects their burrows from being destroyed or damaged. Therefore, any plans to disturb their burrows need to be carefully considered and mitigation put in place if necessary. This is Natural England’s guidance on what planners must do if water voles may be disturbed near the development. However, whilst they are protected, this will not necessarily prevent developments, as the law only ensures that they are considered in any development or work so that appropriate action can be taken to protect them.

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