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Currently, Water Voles are protected under section 9(4) (a and b only) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (amended 1998), but are not yet listed as fully protected on Schedule 5, therefore a licence is not necessary to capture or handle Water Voles in the UK, as is stated in Ecolaw.

However, a proposal was submitted under the quinquennial review to give Water Vole complete protection and to include it on the list of Schedule 5 UK animals. This was approved by the JNCC and is being considered by central government. Judging by the decline in numbers of this species in the last 25 years, it is expected that its inclusion on the list will be forthcoming.

The statement in Ecolaw that licences are required for Water Voles pre-empts this decision.

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