Form

Water voles: licence to displace them for work on flood defences, water courses or drainage systems

Get a licence to displace water voles from their original location to allow internal drainage boards to carry out works that could disturb or damage their burrows (licence CL24).

Documents

Licence to allow internal drainage boards to intentionally displace water voles for work on flood defences, water courses or drainage systems (CL24)

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Registration form for this licence

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Report action taken under this licence

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Monitoring form for this licence

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Details

You now need a licence to intentionally disturb water voles by ‘displacement’.

This licence is for employees of internal drainage boards (the local public authorities with powers to manage water levels within their drainage districts) or anyone acting on behalf of them.

This licence lets you intentionally displace water voles and damage, destroy or obstruct their burrows to maintain or restore flood defences, drainage systems and water courses (such as rivers and streams) for the purposes of:

  • conserving wild animals or plants or introducing them to a site
  • preventing damage to:
    • livestock and their foodstuff
    • crops, including fruit, vegetables and timber
    • property
    • fisheries
  • preserving public health and safety

You can:

  • cut vegetation over the burrow back to bare earth in spring and autumn and if required remove water from the water course (known as ‘water draw down’)
  • carry out a destructive search of water vole burrows following removal of vegetation
  • destroy the empty burrow after a destructive search

You should apply for an individual licence if you can’t follow the terms and conditions of this licence.

Register with Natural England

This is a class licence – you don’t need to apply for it, but you must register with Natural England using the registration form on this page. Only employees, contractors or consultants acting on behalf of internal drainage boards are eligible to register to use this licence.

How to report your actions

By 31 January each year, you must send an annual report to Natural England of any actions taken under this licence, even if no actions were taken that year (a ‘nil’ return). You also need to complete the monitoring form each year to check for the presence of water voles at sites where displacement has taken place. Submit this form with your annual report and keep a copy in case this information is requested in future.

Submitting an annual report to Natural England also renews your registration to use this licence.

Published 29 February 2016
Last updated 1 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2018
  2. Annual licence update 2017.
  3. Annual licence update 2017.
  4. Added monitoring form.
  5. First published.