Following successive reductions in populations across their natural range, dormice are afforded legal protection from harm and disturbance, and their habitats from damage and destruction. Surveys for dormice may be required where a development may affect woodland, important hedgerows or other habitats with the potential to support this species.
The first stage in undertaking a dormouse survey is to determine whether there is suitable habitat for dormice within your site. If present, the best way to rapidly confirm the presence of dormice is by conducting a search for hazel nuts that have been opened by dormice (Bright, Mitchell and Morris 1994).
Providing nest tubes are inspected during the optimum survey period and no dormice or evidence of their presence is recorded then no further survey is likely to be required. Where dormouse presence is confirmed and they are likely to be affected by the development, a nest box scheme may be required by the regulators to estimate dormouse population density. Appropriate mitigation measures may also need to be taken to enable the development to progress. See our dormouse mitigation page for more information.