Six native reptile species occur in Britain, comprising adder, grass snake, smooth snake, common lizard, sand lizard and slow-worm.
Two of these species, smooth snake and sand lizard, are nationally rare and are designated ‘European protected species’, afforded the highest level of statutory protection available in the UK. The other four species, which are much commoner and more widespread in Britain, are afforded so-called ‘partial protection’ under the amended Wildlife & Countryside Act which prohibits the killing or injury of individuals. However, there is no direct protection extended to the habitats which support them.
Recent policy changes in the Government Agencies has meant that the presence or possible presence of reptiles is an increasingly important issue on development sites. Site-clearance and construction activities must not result in the avoidable death or injury of any reptiles, and this can result in the need for significant mitigation both ahead of and during construction.
Our team includes ecologists who are skilled in the survey and handling of reptiles, and in the design and implementation of mitigation measures including ‘fence, trap and clear’ operations and ‘destructive searching’.