BSG Ecology now has two members of its team who benefit from a water vole displacement license (Jim Fairclough in our Hathersage Office working across Derbyshire, the Midlands and Greater Manchester; and Peter Newbold in our Oxford Office working across South-East England).
The benefit to many clients of engaging a licenced ecologist is that there is no requirement for a site-specific licence submission, and the amount of supporting information supplied to support the works is much reduced. This results in time and cost savings and allows development to proceed as soon as planning permission is gained, once any relevant pre-commencement conditions are discharged. Importantly, the standard (minimum) 30 days to determine a conventional licence application is removed.
The latest beneficiary is Principal Ecologist Peter Newbold who has been granted the displacement or ‘low impact class licence’ for water vole following over ten years of relevant experience. He has held various licences for both displacement and traditional water vole translocation, including a Project Wide Licence for Hamptons in Peterborough.
The displacement licence allows the intentional damage or destruction of burrows in order to displace water voles ahead of development. It covers measures such as cutting back of vegetation to encourage water voles to leave an area, and the subsequent destructive searches of burrows. This is intended to reduce the potential for harm to water vole, and can only be applied if the licence will result in a conservation benefit to the species (and once planning permission has been achieved).
The purpose of the new licencing system is to help reduce the burden on projects that are anticipated to have a low impact on water vole. Accredited consultants need to meet rigorous criteria set by Natural England, based on their demonstrable experience of working with water vole, and their understanding of the licensing process.
This is good news for our Oxford team, and we look forward to using the new licence to help clients deal with what had previously been a time-consuming process.