Cornwall Environmental Consultants Ltd


otter swimming by Richard Ford

photo by Richard Ford

Otters are a European Protected Species (EPS), and are protected under the Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.  

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 otter, 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. 

Otters are widespread in Cornwall, and generally considered to be present within all river catchments in the county.  Their home ranges will typically include running and standing water and associated habitats such as reed beds, riparian woodland and some coastal areas.


Will I need an otter survey?

You will need an otter survey if you plan to do a development which may potentially disturb an otter’s resting or breeding place, which are usually located around wetland such rivers, lakes, marshes etc. The survey will cover an area up to 100 metres of the site boundary and should be included as part of your planning application. Walkover survey of any sections of watercourse or standing water within a site will be undertaken to search for field signs (such as spraint, footprints and more importantly, potential resting and breeding sites).  Only a qualified ecologist can undertake this survey for you.

What happens if you find otters using the site I wish to develop?

Whilst survey work needs to be undertaken before planning, it is usually recommended that such survey work is updated a couple of months before works start on site so that there is time to apply for an EPS licence, which would be required if there is to be any disturbance to a resting or breeding place.

Back to Protected Species Survey

Wildlife Trust Consultancies Landscape Institute logo ISO14001 UVDB stamp Investor in People logo ISO9001 CESW ISO18001

Address: Five Acres, Allet, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 9DJ
t: 01872 245510   f: 01872 262071   e: