Our six native reptile species have all suffered declines in population size, predominantly due to the continued loss and fragmentation of their habitats. Slow worms, common lizards, grass snakes and adders are now protected from harm under national legislation and policy. Sand lizards and smooth snakes are rare and only occur in specialised habitats with restricted distributions. They are therefore afforded additional protection under European legislation from harm and disturbance, and their habitats from damage and destruction.
Regulators are likely to require surveys to be undertaken where development may affect rough grassland, scrub or other habitats with the potential to support reptiles. If reptiles are confirmed on your site then we can recommend balanced avoidance and mitigation measures to enable your development to progress.
The standard technique to determine the presence or likely absence of reptiles from your site is to deploy artificial refugia (e.g. corrugated metal sheets or squares of roofing felt) throughout all areas of suitable habitat. Froglife (1999) guidelines state that the refugia should be checked at least seven times by an appropriately experienced ecologist during suitable weather conditions. Checks should also be made for reptiles beneath natural refugia as well as reptiles basking in open areas. If reptiles are found to be present then appropriate measures may need to be put in place to allow the development to progress. See our reptile mitigation page for more information.
Common lizard captured beneath a refugia during a reptile survey.