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There are six native reptile species found in the UK and all are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act
(1981) from intentional killing and injury. They are also species of principal importance under the Natural Environment Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. The six species include: common lizard; slow worm; adder; grass snake; sand lizard; and smooth snake.
Sand lizards and smooth snakes are rare and their breeding sites and resting places are protected under additional laws originating from European legislation. As such, these two species are rarely encountered on development sites. Populations of smooth snakes are mainly found in Dorset, Hampshire, and Surrey, and have been reintroduced to West Sussex and Devon.
Populations of sand lizards are mainly found in Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Merseyside and have been reintroduced to other areas in the south east, south west and Wales. Any activity that would likely impact on sand lizard or smooth snake would require a licence.
The other four reptile species (adder, grass snake, common lizard and slow worm) are widespread and are often encountered on development sites. No licences are required for disturbing these four reptiles, but care still needs to be taken to ensure that they are not harmed or killed.
The principal method for surveying reptiles involves searching for basking animals on natural refuges (e.g. wood piles, earth banks, stone) or intentionally placed artificial refuges (e.g. corrugated metal sheets, carpet tiles, or squares of roofing felt).
The survey period for active reptiles is from April to September but hot weather in July and August can make these months sub-optimal for surveying, as they remain quick moving and hard to spot in the early mornings.
Ideal habitat for reptiles is rough grassland, scrub, hedges and woodland edges. If you have these habitats on site then you may well need a reptile survey.
Phlorum ecologists are able to carry out presence/absence surveys, population estimates, and to design and implement suitable mitigation to ensure our clients can complete their works without harming reptiles.
Contact us today for a free, no obligation, chat to discuss how we can help you with any reptile or ecology issues you might be concerned about.