Sunday, 22 August 2010

Water vole site, Banks, Cont...

Following on from my previous post, here are some closer pictures of water vole activity.
As mentioned, I cant see how any ecologist could miss these signs, and then allow infilling work to start.

It has been mentioned that the land is earmarked for development (Houses).

I wonder what motive there is to infill the ponds? More building land perhaps?

Its difficult for members of the public to act, I know that once our group was informed we had to act fast on this as works were being carried out as we watched. If you have a determined developer they can sometimes try every loophole in order to carry on. Money is such a powerful motivator. It makes me wonder why they just don't include wildlife schemes in the developments, especially when they are in sensitive areas like this one. Surely it would be easier in the long run, as once the authorities find out about protected species, the developer loses time and money. They would also get better support form local residents if they did include good ecology schemes. Not only that but ethically its better. Who wants to live in a concrete jungle. You would think that developer's enjoy wildlife too? Surely they must have a heart buried beneath their concrete lined pockets.

Lets take this site for example ( I'll go into all the other ones on a separate post) Why not just fence the ponds off, build an extra Newt pond, plant trees and nesting boxes on the site perimeter, then build within that? Surely that cant hurt and it would prevent the outrage that this has caused amongst residents.

No one wants to stop building, we know houses must be built but there are alternatives, scale down, relocate development to more suited sites etc. The local authorities need to act on these issues.

The water vole has suffered a massive 90% population decline. Yes you read it right- 90%!
That makes Banks pretty darn special in my eyes, we should be proud of what we have here, the Water Vole! Does it not seem cruel and shortsighted to actually bury it alive? What could have been on the minds of the plant and machinery operator knowing that he is most likely killing voles as he dumps the soil over the burrows?

It beggars belief what goes through the minds of these people.


  1. The law is very clear. Water Voles are listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and so their "places of shelter" cannot be disturbed, damaged or destroyed unless DEFRA issues a licence to do so. The voles must be taken into account in any planning application and the Planning Authority are required to alter, or indeed, refuse, any application that fails to do so. Basically, any development would have to work around the voles so that they can continue to live there.

    If the law is broken, the police have the power to impound the developer's vehicles, and a court to issue fines and ultimately prison sentences.

  2. Posting here as you asked.

    Have you got photos of the latrines? Or any historical records of water vole presence? (Check with your local wlidlife trust, for instance.)

    No work should be being done till planning consent has been given. What did the police have to say when you contacted them? There are lots of examples of developers having to halt work and of councils being fined for breaking the law in this regard - it does happen.

    The pond SHOULD NOT have filled in as it is against the law to disturb water vole habitat. Planning permission has nothing to do with it. What did the police say?

  3. I've started a thread here:

  4. Kate

    In November 2009 Dr Helen Laycock from The Wildlife trust, undertook a water vole survey of Banks Village. Her report (which is filed at local records office) showed water voles adjacent to these ponds, this is on the environment agency land that adjoins the property. Other similar ponds in the village also contain water voles. 39 Burrows were reported within the vicinity. The burrows on the chapel lane land fit the dimensions and profile of water voles. The footprints which were left in the mud in the ponds are star shaped, and size leads to believe they are vole prints. Burrows are below and above the water line of the ponds (as water was drained sub level burrows were revealed, which can be seen if the pics are studied closer), feeding stations and droppings were observed on the pond edge.

    An investigation into the ponds is apparently underway and works seem to be on hold.

    The group is concerned for the future and also for the damage ALREADY DONE, I would like to know if anyone can tell us, do you think the voles could have burrowed out from under all the soil? Or is it likely they have killed some? Its terrible if they have and I would sincerley hope that someone takes action and not just warnings. The reason is that there are many other areas in the village that could have the same fate if examples are not set. What point is the law if prosecutions are not brought. This action needs to be shown that it wont be tolerated.

  5. You sound as if you've taken all the right action so far. I can't tell you whether voles have been killed by the digging - it sounds highly likely - but if there are still water voles on adjacent sites and if those sites are looked after and if this one is restored, there's an excellent chance they'll recolonise here. That's a lot of ifs, I know. Keep on the case, keep making a fuss. Some people need to be told repeatedly they're not above the law!