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Legal status
In April 2008 water voles were afforded full protection in England and Wales by DEFRA by including them on schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA). Protection for water voles was to be achieved through the prohibition of certain activities under section 9 of the WCA as listed below. 9(1) - prohibition of killing, injuring or taking; 9(2) - prohibition of possession or control; 9(4) - prohibition of damaging or destroying places of shelter, or disturbing such animals while occupying places of shelter; 9(5) - prohibition of sale, possession or transport for the purpose of sale, and advertising the buying or selling of such animals.  
Water voles and their resting places are now fully protected in England and it is an offence to deliberately, capture, injure or kill them, have possession or control,  or to disturb, damage, destroy or obstruct their breeding or resting places and to buy or sell the species Where water voles can not be worked around and if the issue cannot be resolved by any alternative means there are exceptions to these prohibitions which may be authorised by a licence issued under section 16 of the WCA by Natural England. Click below for more information
Specialists in water vole ecology