NEST TUBE SURVEYS AND NUT SEARCHES
Dormouse surveys are recommended where suitable habitat is identified during the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA). If your site features hedgerows, scrub or lines of trees, it is possible that dormouse surveys will be needed.
Dormouse surveys involve setting out a number of nest tubes and / or nest boxes in suitable habitat around the proposed development site. Regular visits will be made by a licensed ecologist to check for dormice and these take place when dormice are active, usually between April - November. A 'nut search' may also be conducted in the autumn / winter months as an additional measure to indicate dormice presence, although this method is not used to indicate absence. These surveys are conducted in accordance with the 'Dormouse Conservation Handbook' (English Nature, 2004).
Should dormice be present on your site, then you will be required to implement a mitigation strategy with enhancements for dormice, and a European Protected Species (EPS) licence may be required (see below).
DORMOUSE LICENSING AND MITIGATION
The best form of mitigation is avoidance of suitable dormouse habitat as this may negate the need for a licence through Natural England. If avoidance of dormouse habitat is not possible, and damage, disturbance or removal of dormouse habitat is anticipated, then this will be need to be implemented under a dormouse mitigation licence.
The licence will require a detailed method statement including a mitigation scheme and any compensation measures, additional enhancements for dormice on site are usually required, including habitat creation or management and planting of suitable tree species.