There are six native species of reptile found in the UK: grass snake (Natrix helvetica), adder (Vipera berus), smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), slow worm (Anguis fragilis), common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis). All of these species are protected from killing, injury and taking under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). While smooth snake and sand lizard are also European Protected Species and are therefore given additional protection to prevent disturbance and destruction of their resting places. This means it is necessary to undertake sufficient survey work to determine their presence or likely absence of reptiles from areas of suitable habitat.
Reptile surveys can be undertaken during suitable temperature and weather conditions between March and September, with April and May being the optimal. Surveys normally consist of the distribution of refugia (e.g. roofing felt or corrugated metal) across areas of suitable habitat and then checking these refugia on an appropriate number of separate occasions.
If a population of reptiles is found, and impact on them cannot be avoided, then translocation to a suitable receptor area may be required. In the case of the two rare reptile species – smooth snake and sand lizard – an application to the applicable Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO), e.g. Natural England for an EPS mitigation licence may be required.
Our ecology consultants have extensive experience of successfully delivering projects with reptile constraints. Our ecologists are well versed in providing solution focussed advice and are always on hand to help.