Reptile Surveys and Mitigation
Reptile surveys and mitigation are a very important part of The Ecology Consultancy’s work. We have considerable experience on small and large survey and mitigation projects for clients throughout the UK and have reptile specialists in all our offices. Please contact our regional office in Norwich, for surveys in East Anglia and East Midlands; in Lewes for the South East and surrounding counties, in Edinburgh for the North, or our Head Office in London for the rest of the UK.
There are six native species of terrestrial reptile in the UK. Common reptiles include the slow worm, common lizard, grass snake and adder. Two rare reptile species, the smooth snake and sand lizard, are highly restricted in their distribution. Populations of smooth snakes are mainly restricted to Dorset and Hampshire with small populations in West Sussex and Surrey. Sand lizards are more widespread, with native populations in Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset, and reintroduced populations in other counties including Devon, Cornwall and Wales.
All reptiles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), making it illegal to intentionally kill or injure a common reptile. Rare reptiles (smooth snake and sand lizard) also receive legal protection under The Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2010.
It is illegal to deliberately injure, kill, capture or disturb a rare reptile, or to damage or obstruct any place used for shelter or protection. Rare reptiles may only be handled by licensed ecologists.
Breaking the law can lead to fines of up to £5,000 per offence and potential prison sentences of up to six months. Vehicles implicated in an offence can be compounded and both the company and/or the individual(s) concerned can be held liable.
All reptile species are now on the national Biodiveristy Action Plan (BAP) priority list, and local authorities and other public bodies have a legal duty to take their conservation into account.
Expert Reptile Consultants
Our ecologists can advise on all aspects of reptile survey and mitigation, and conduct the necessary works to ensure a successful outcome for client and wildlife alike.
Projects we have worked on include:
Mitigation strategies for reptiles
From working on small local projects in counties such as Essex, Buckinghamshire and the London Borough of Bexley, to large-scale scientific studies in extensive habitats throughout the UK, The Ecology Consultancy has the experience to ensure the success of all types of reptile mitigation schemes.
Working with Reptiles
All our reptile experts are fully trained in reptile survey methods and mitigation. We have ecologists licensed to survey smooth snakes and sand lizards and ecologists that have expert handling techniques for adders (venomous snakes).
Common reptiles can be found in a variety of habitats, including in urban areas, in vegetation on railway embankments, churchyards and in hedgerows, sheltering under logs, rocks and compost heaps, or basking in open sunlight. Hibernation occurs between November and February. Surveys can only be carried out in the period April to September when reptiles are dependably active although weather conditions may determine whether surveys are appropriate even during this period (April, May and September are the three key months to plan for). New guidance on survey protocol is expected in the near future from Natural England and is likely to require surveys throughout the season described above.
Our client base is broad and includes local authorities, infrastructure engineers, utility companies, planning consultants, architects and private developers such as farmers. We have been involved in small and large property development projects, working closely with all agencies involved. As experienced wildlife consultants, we are used to dealing with all legal and commercial issues surrounding protected species.
We guarantee you a high quality service, with a strong focus on our clients. We are happy to give free initial advice and can provide robust fee-quotes. We provide timely, high quality reports of our work to all stakeholders.