The hazel or common dormouse is a European Protected Species (EPS), which are protected under the Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. The hazel dormouse is also a UK BAP priority species.
Local planning authorities have a duty to make sure that proposed developments will not affect the favourable conservation status of an EPS. This means that if a site has potential to support dormouse, and there is a possibility that a proposal may affect the species, the planning authority will need to receive a detailed survey report and mitigation proposals as part of a planning application.
There is still much unknown about the true distribution of dormice in Cornwall, but they seem to be more widespread in mid, north and east Cornwall. Dormice occupy habitats such as woodland, hedges and scrub, but are also encountered in other habitats such as heath.
- Dormice hibernate during October through to April or May, and surprisingly do this at ground level rather than high above in trees
- Adults weigh about 20g in the summer, but increase in weight to about 35g in time for winter
- A dormouse diet consists of flowers, nuts, pollen, fruit and insects
- Dormice can have up to 2 litters a year, normally consisting of about 4 young
- Dormice have a life-span of around 5 years which is actually quite long for such a small mammal
Will I need a dormouse survey?
If you are planning a development which could have an impact on dormouse populations/habitat then a survey will be required. A dormouse survey can only be undertaken by a suitably qualified and licensed ecologist. CEC ecologists are licensed to survey for dormice using dormouse nest tubes and boxes and have considerable experience in this field. Survey effort is designed following current best practice guidance in the 2nd edition of the Dormouse Conservation Handbook.
What happens if you find dormice using the site I wish to develop?
If dormice are likely to be affected by a proposal, even if we are able to demonstrate that there is no impact on favourable conservation status, there may still be disturbance to individual animals, which is only legal if done under an EPS licence. CEC are able to apply for these licences on your behalf.
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