Otters feed mainly on fish although occasionally water birds or frogs are taken. An otter can eat up to 15% of its own bodyweight in fish every day. This can bring otters into conflict with people who manage watercourses and fisheries.

Otter (Lutra lutra)

Otters were once widespread across the UK, but hunting, for fur, sport and the protection of fish stocks, as well as pollution of the rivers by insecticides contributed to a sharp decline in numbers.

In recent years a combination of measures has led to otter numbers beginning to recover, these include:

• Legal protection for otters and their habitats
• Work by government agencies to clean up the rivers by controlling pollution
• Creation and management of otter habitats
• The re-introduction of otters

Otters can be found in clean rivers and lakes and around the coast. Coastal otters need access to fresh water in order to clean the salt from their fur. Otters make their holts in riverbanks in areas which are hidden by tree roots and other vegetation. The holt is lined with reeds, grass and moss and serves as a resting place and a place to rear cubs.


As mentioned above the loss of habitat illegal hunting and killing of otters together with pollution of watercourses all pose a threat to otters. These issues have been addressed and the combination of legislation and conservation has led to an increase of 55% in occupied sites between 1994 and 2002.


Case Studies

Phase 2a for High Speed 2 (HS2)

December 2016
Site: Phase 2a for High Speed 2 (HS2) - from the West Midlands to Crewe Client: Biocensus c/o Arup ##Project overview In spring 2016 UES were subcontracted ... more...

Phase 1 Habitat Survey in Winchester

November 2011
UES recently completed an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of an old mill in Winchester. An Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey involves mapping the habitats on the ... more...

Extended phase 1 habitat survey in Deeside

August 2011
UES have completed an extended phase 1 habitat survey of a site in Deeside, North Wales in order to inform the client of any potential impacts their development... more...

Breeam Habitat Survey in Birmingham

November 2010
UES were commissioned to provide an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of o high rise office complex near Edgbaston in Birmingham. The Survey is to provide informa... more...

Ecological surveys and advice in Congleton

October 2010
In August 2010, United Utilities and their associated agents The Vinden Partnership applied for planning permission for slope stabilisation works adjacent the ... more...

Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey Flintshire

May 2010
United Environmental Services have completed an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of a site near the town of Flint in North Wales. The site has been a dis-used br... more...

Major Pipeline Survey

January 2010
UES were commissioned by a Northwest based utilities company to carry out survey work for a major pipeline in the north west of England. ##Planning The propo... more...