Dormice Muscardinus avellanarius, usually a nocturnal species, are predominately found in woodlands, hedgerows and scrub. Their preferred food plant is hazel Corylus avellana, however, dormice will also feed on flowers, fruits and insects. Dormice hibernate over the winter months, where you will find them at ground level such as within root balls, or beneath moss and fallen leaves.
Protection and Legislation
Dormice are fully protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
Therefore, it is an offence to;
- Deliberately capture, injure or kill;
- Deliberately disturb;
- Damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place;
- Possess or advertise/sell/exchange (dead or alive) or any part of.
If development works impact potential dormouse habitat, a licensed ecologist may need to carry out a nest tube survey to confirm if the species is present.
Although often used in combination with nut and nest searches, the standard survey method for confirming dormouse presence is a nest tube survey.
- Nest tubes: Nest tubes are setup in suitable locations across the potential habitat. Monitored once per month April through to November.
- Nut search: Examining the site for hazel nuts opened by dormice.
- Nest search: Examining the site for dormice nests.
Licensing and Mitigation
If dormouse survey effort confirms the presence of dormice, a licensed ecologist may need to apply for a derogation licence, prior to any development works commencing that may impact upon dormice. A derogation licence, from the appropriate statutory body for nature conservation, permits operations, which would otherwise constitute an offence. Abricon would work with you in order to develop a suitable mitigation plan and strategy.