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.
Our licensed ecologists are experienced in undertaking a range of surveys to determine the presence or likely absence of dormice from your site.
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).
For sites with limited areas of fruiting hazel or if no dormouse gnawed hazel nuts are found, a nest tube survey can be undertaken to reliably confirm the likely absence of dormice. According to Natural England guidelines, at least fifty plastic nest tubes, should be tied to the underside of branches at 20m intervals throughout the site (Chanin and Woods, 2003 and English Nature, 2006). The nest tubes should be checked at monthly intervals for dormice or their nests by a licensed ecologist. Other options available may include looking for natural nests or deploying nest boxes or hair tubes.
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.
Timing Considerations: The optimal period for nut searches is mid-August to December. Nest tubes should be deployed as early in the year as possible with the optimum survey period occurring between June and November, inclusive.
Babec Ecological Consultants are based in Sussex and Hertfordshire, and provide dormouse surveys across West Sussex, East Sussex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridge, Essex, London and throughout England and Wales. We are happy to give free initial advice and provide an excellent service at competitive rates. Click here to get in touch.