There are six species of reptile native to the UK. These consist of three lizard species; Common Lizard Zootoca vivipara, Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis and Slow-worm Anguis fragilis. Followed by three snake species; Adder Vipera berus, Grass Snake Natrix natrix and Smooth Snake Cornella austriaca. You can find Reptiles in a wide range of habitats. These including heaths, moors, rough grassland, gardens and woodland edges.
Protection and Legislation
- Common lizard, slow worm, adder and grass snake are all protected under Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended) against injuring, killing or selling.
- Sand lizard and smooth snake are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 against killing, injuring, capture, damaging or destroying a breeding or resting site, intentionally obstructing access to a place used for shelter, keeping, transporting or sale.
Reptiles are especially active in late spring and late summer; therefore hibernation occurs between November and February. Reptile surveys therefore can take place from March to October, with late spring (April-June) and September being the best time to survey. High temperatures in July / August can limit survey times as reptiles will consequently spend less time basking. Whilst due to low temperatures in October this can lead to early hibernation.
- Presence / likely absence survey: We place artificial refuges in suitable habitat on site. Tiles made from corrugated iron, roofing felt or carpet tiles make good artificial refuges. These refuges provide shelter from predation and aid heat absorption. We will check the artificial refuges on seven occasions in suitable weather conditions.
Licensing and Mitigation
If reptiles are found on site then mitigation will be required. Prior to any works that may impact upon sand lizards or smooth snakes, a licensed ecologist may need to apply for a derogation licence from the appropriate statutory body for nature conservation. This derogation licence permits operations which would otherwise constitute an offence and we will work with you to develop a suitable mitigation plan.