We have 6 native species of reptile in the UK, all of which are afforded protection from the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981). This protects the four common species; Adder, Grass Snake, Slow Worn and Common Lizard against deliberate or reckless killing or injuring although their habitat is not legally protected.
The rarer Smooth Snake and Sand Lizard receive full protection from the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) as well as the Habitats Regulations (2010) making it an offence to disturb them with their habitat also being protected.
Reptiles are found in a number of different habitat types and locations ranging from the edges of agricultural fields and gardens to heathland and roadside verges. They tend to favour structured semi - improved grassland with areas of scrub.
Suitable reptile habitat is widespread and often associated with potential development sites. An assessment of a sites suitability to support reptiles can be made at any time of the year however reptile surveys are best carried out during spring and late summer. This involves the distribution of pieces of tin or bitumen roofing felt which the ecologist will check a number of times, searching for reptiles found underneath warming themselves. If reptiles are found on site then a mitigation strategy will need to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority detailing measures that will be taken to lessen harm or killing of reptiles and where appropriate a suitable area will be retained on site or that reptiles having to be captured and released within a close by suitable receptor site.
Ecosupport staff are highly experienced in carrying out reptile surveys and preparing successful mitigation strategies. All of our field staff are competent in the safe handling and capture of reptiles with continual training given, accounting for the most up to date methods.