It is illegal to deliberately capture, disturb, injure or kill a dormouse, or damage or destroy breeding sites or resting places under legislation.
Dormice and the places they use for shelter or protection receive European protection under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (Habitats Regulations 2010). They receive further legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) 1981, as amended. This protection means that dormice, and the places they use for shelter or protection, are capable of being a material consideration in the planning process.
Regulation 41 of the Habitats Regulations 2010, states that a person commits an offence if they:
- deliberately capture, injure or kill a dormouse;
- deliberately disturb dormice; or
- damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place.
Disturbance of animals includes in particular any disturbance which is likely to impair their ability to survive, to breed or reproduce, or to rear or nurture their young, or in the case of animals of a hibernating or migratory species, to hibernate or migrate; or to affect significantly the local distribution or abundance of the species to which they belong.
It is an offence under the Habitats Regulations 2010 for any person to have in his possession or control, to transport, to sell or exchange or to offer for sale, any live or dead dormouse, part of a dormouse or anything derived from a dormouse, which has been unlawfully taken from the wild.
Whilst broadly similar to the above legislation, the WCA 1981 (as amended) differs in the following ways:
- Section 9(1) of the WCA makes it an offence to intentionally (rather than deliberately) kill, injure or take any protected species.
- Section 9(4)(a) of the WCA makes it an offence to intentionally or recklessly* damage or destroy, or obstruct access to, any structure or place which a protected species uses for shelter or protection.
- Section 9(4)(b) of the WCA makes it an offence to intentionally or recklessly* disturb any protected species while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for shelter or protection.
*Reckless offences were added by the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000.
The reader should refer to the original legislation for the definitive interpretation.
What we do
One of our ecological consultants will undertake a walkover dormouse survey and desktop assessment of the area to look for suitable habitat for dormouse and signs of usage. Dormouse nest tubes may also be installed and monitored over a sustained period (ideally March to November). This shall be undertaken before any development works begin.
A dormouse survey report, suitable for submission with your planning application, is supplied highlighting any potential impacts on dormice.
Dormouse Mitigation and Licensing
Should the dormouse survey highlight that dormice have been identified on or near the development site, then a licence from the relevant Statutory National Government Organization may be required if dormice are to be impacted. Middlemarch can prepare a detailed method statement and mitigation strategy setting out how the dormice will be protected and conserved during and post development.
This method statement can be submitted with the licence application to the relevant Statutory National Government Organization. Middlemarch has a proven track record of successful licence application and implementation.
Other associated services
In addition to dormouse surveys, Middlemarch Environmental has extensive experience of providing cost-effective ecological solutions for all aspects of dormouse assessment and mitigation and can also provide the following services:
- Estimation of territory sizes.
- Advising on how to incorporate dormouse into development.
- Habitat enhancement and design and construction of new habitats.
- Ecological clerk of works to ensure licence conditions are met
- Dormouse translocation