Otter Survey Company Covering Argyll, Highland, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire 

Otters are fully protected under UK and European law and developments affecting otters or their resting places may require a European protected species licence before works can commence.


For a site which may potentially disturb otters or their holt(s) your Planning Authority/environment regulator may require an initial assessment survey before any building or development begins at the site. A typical assessment will involve surveying the banks of all watercourses and waterbodies (e.g. rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, lochs or coastlines) within the development site and 100m from the boundary for evidence of otter, including:


  • spraints (droppings),
  • feeding remains,
  • footprints, footpaths,
  • otter couches (otter shelters above ground), and
  • otter holts (otter shelters below ground).


After the survey is completed TransTech will prepare a report highlighting any potential impact on otters.


If evidence of otter is found during the initial assessment a more detailed survey may need to be carried out to determine whether the development falls within an otter breeding site and/or contains natal dens or resting places. Where available, any records provided by Scottish Natural Heritage, local conservation groups or other conservation bodies are used to supplement survey data. TransTech will then prepare the necessary report required by the local planning department. This will include advice, such as mitigation to enable your proposed development or other activities to proceed in compliance with legislation and wildlife planning policy.


In Scotland a development licence must be obtained from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) for checking holts or for carrying out work that may disturb otters. Licences must be issued prior to commencement of works and should be applied for at least one month in advance of the start of works. Mitigation measures must also be in place, and only in extreme circumstances will the licensing authority permit the destruction of holts or other otter resting places.


Otter surveys are not restricted to a particular time of the year as otters can breed at any time and there is therefore no preferred season in which to undertake operations in order to limit disturbance. Works may have to be delayed if otters are found to be breeding on site.


For more information on regulator licensing requirements see link below:


Scottish Natural Heritage Licensing Guidance


Requirements for surveys will be application and site specific. It is recommended that all applicants seek pre-application advice to ensure that they carry out surveys appropriate to their development. This will not only ensure that the required information is provided for the planning department to determine the planning application but will save expense on surveys/work that is not necessary for the application.


We carry out otter surveys throughout Scotland which includes the Western Isles and Argyll, Lochaber, Ardnamurchan and the rest of Highland down to Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.


For more information on our otter habitat survey services please call the office on 01631 720699, or if you would like to request a fee quote for your project contact us by email at

TransTech Ltd   Caerthann House   Connel   Oban   Argyll

PA37 1PQ   Scotland   United Kingdom

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