There are six species of reptile native to the UK, four of which are widespread and frequently occur on development sites and two of which are rare. The two comparatively rare species are the smooth snake and sand lizard which are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended) and the Habitats and Species Directive (92/43/EC), enacted in the UK by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010), making it illegal to kill, injure, capture, handle or disturb these animals. Places they use for breeding, resting, shelter and protection are protected from being damaged or destroyed. It is also illegal to obstruct these animals from using such areas. The four widespread species include grass snake, adder, common lizard, and slow worm. These are “partially” protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended), making it an offence to kill or injure these animals. In addition, all reptile species are “Species of Principal Importance” under Section 41 of the NERC Act and are listed as priority species on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).
To avoid a contravention under the above laws, a reptile presence/likely absence survey should be undertaken if suitable habitats such as rough grassland or field margins are present on the development site. A reptile survey is seasonally restricted to between April and September (inclusive). This will consist of the deployment of artificial refugia which are sheets of material such as roofing felt or corrugated tin throughout the site in areas considered to be suitable for reptiles. Reptiles are attracted to these materials as they are generally warmer than the surrounding
environment. Once deployed, one of our experienced ecologists will return to the site a given number of times under suitable conditions following best practice guidelines to search for reptiles using the artificial refugia as well as any other features present on site. The survey typically measures presence/absence, species type, age and distribution across the site.
If reptiles are found to be present, Green Ecology can design and implement a cost-effective mitigation strategy to satisfy best practice guidance and local policies. Strategies may include habitat manipulation, reptile fencing, reptile translocation works and habitat enhancement and creation.
Green Ecology have highly experienced ecologists with specialism’s in reptile ecology. We can provide the following services:
- Habitat assessment
- Reptile survey
- Legislation & policy advice
- Habitat creation and restoration
- Identification of reptile receptor site
- Reptile translocations
- Displacement of reptiles through habitat manipulation
- Destructive searches
- Installation of reptile fencing
For more information about reptiles and how we can deliver timely and cost effective solutions to your project please get in touch.