Otters are legally protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Habits Regulations 1994.
Taken together these two pieces of legislation make it illegal to:
- Capture or kill an otter
- Disturb an otter whilst in a place of shelter or rest
- Damage or destroy an otter's breeding site or resting place
- Obstruct otters from using a place of shelter or rest
No offence is committed if work is done under and in accordance with an appropriate licence.
Habitats Regulations licences sometimes called European Protected Species Licences (EPSL) permit work that would otherwise constitute an offence by disturbing otters or damaging/obstructing their access to resting or shelter habitat. Greenwillows Associates personnel have many years of experience in undertaking the initial presence/absence surveys for otters and have the expertise and experience to guide and advise our clients' architects and surveyors on the level of information required from them in order to acquire the necessary EPSL.
In many watercourses a boat-based survey is the only practicable methodology. Greenwillows Associates possess a shallow draft punt with outboard motor which is capable of navigating most watercourses and has often been used with good effect in surveying for otters.
Our checklist of services which complies with national best practice standards set out by Natural England includes: