The four widespread species of British reptile: grass snake, slow-worm, adder and common lizard are legally protected under UK law. The much rarer smooth snake and sand lizard are fully protected under UK and EU law and require a European protected species licence from Natural England if a development affects them or their habitat.

Our ecologists have extensive experience in reptile surveys and mitigation work.

Initial Assessment

A site assessment will identify the potential for reptiles  on site and likely impacts of the proposed project. If the assessment reveals that the site has potential, a reptile refugia survey will be required to ascertain  presence or absence. This involves the distribution of reptile refugia across the site followed by regular inspection by suitably qualified ecologists. Weather conditions are a crucial factor when conducting reptile surveys making making expert knowledge essential.

Further Survey Work

If reptiles are identified during the initial reptile survey it may be necessary to carry out further surveys or population studies. If smooth snakes and sand lizards are found a European protected species license will be required for works to go ahead. If proposed activities will impact on common lizards, slow worms, grass snakes or adders it may be necessary to gain agreement from Natural England prior to the start of works.

Licence Application and Mitigation

Licence applications for disturbances to smooth snake and sand lizard must be accompanied by a ‘method statement’ describing mitigation and how the population will be conserved post-development.

Reptiles protected under UK law will also require a mitigation strategy so that planning can be approved. Mitigation can involve trapping and translocating reptiles to pre-prepared sites before development begins, the installation of barrier fencing in specific areas or habitat creation.

Survey Timings

Initial and further reptile surveys are carried out between March and October, with the peak survey seasons being April-June and September-October.

Contact DWS  to discuss your survey requirements

01388 488 885

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