Red Squirrels

The red squirrel is the UK’s only native squirrel and is now vastly outnumbered by the grey squirrel introduced from North America in the 19th Century. The future of the red squirrel in the UK is threatened as the grey squirrel continues to expand its range throughout the UK. The grey squirrel is a carrier of the squirrelpox virus which is deadly to the red squirrel.

Red squirrels are protected by domestic law and it is an offence to deliberately capture, injure or kill them or to damage, destroy or obstruct their breeding places and to disturb them in their breeding / resting places.

The northerly counties of England, Cumbria and Northumberland, are strongholds of the red squirrel where coniferous forests give them a better chance to withstand competition and avoid the grey squirrel. As a Cumbrian based consultancy our ecologists are familiar with the red squirrel, with experience of working closely with this species in one of the few red squirrel reserves remaining in England.

OpenSpace have the skills to help distinguish red and grey squirrel field signs and habitats and the knowledge to advise you on the timing and methodologies that may be required concerning works close to red squirrel habitat. Most potential conflicts between red squirrels and people can be resolved outside of licensed action.

Our experience with this species and the knowledge of its northern habitats makes us aware of sites that may or may not have issues and we would be certain to provide the simplest of mitigation solutions.

Mitigation often involves habitat creation/enhancement, such as installing artificial drey boxes and tree planting.

If you have any queries regarding red squirrels, then call us on 01228 711841 or email Our team of specialists will be happy to advise and we can provide a no obligation quote if you wish.

Updated April 2017