All of the UK’s native reptiles are protected by UK legislation. It is illegal to deliberately injure, capture, kill, keep, transport or sell a reptile.
All of the UK’s native reptiles are protected by law. The two rarest species – sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) and smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) – benefit from the greatest protection.
Common lizard (Lacerta vivipara), slow-worm (Anguis fragilis), adder (Vipera berus) and grass snake (Natrix natrix) are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended from intentional killing or injuring.
Sand lizard and smooth snake are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 which together make it illegal to kill, injure, capture, handle or disturb these animals. Places they use for breeding, resting, shelter and protection are protected from being damaged or destroyed. It is also illegal to obstruct these animals from using such areas.
In England and Wales, this Act has been amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW), which adds an extra offence, makes species offences arrestable, increases the time limits for some prosecutions and increases penalties. The Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 places a duty on Government Departments to have regard for the conservation of biodiversity and maintains lists of species and habitats which are of principal importance for the purposes of conserving biodiversity in England and Wales. All native reptile species are included on these lists.
The reader is referred to the original legislation for the definitive interpretation.
What we do
If required, one of our experienced ecological consultants will perform a reptile survey. This will include the undertaking of an initial walkover survey of the proposed development site to establish the potential for the presence of any reptile species.
If the initial reptile survey indicates that the site has potential to support reptiles, a further survey will be required to establish the presence/absence of reptiles, the species and population status of any reptiles found. This will involve a search of existing refugia (rubble, urban waste etc) and installation of artificial refugia, which will be inspected for reptiles over a defined period (usually 1-2 months).
Reptile Mitigation and Licensing
If reptiles are to be impacted by proposals then a mitigation strategy will be required. If sand lizards or smooth snakes are present (limited distribution in the UK), then a licence will be required from the relevant Statuary National Government Organisation.
Middlemarch Environmental has extensive experience of compilation and implementation of reptile mitigation strategies and successful licence applications.
In addition to reptile surveys, Middlemarch Environmental has extensive experience of providing cost-effective ecological solutions for all aspects of reptile assessment and mitigation and can also provide the following services:
- Method statements
- Ecological clerk of works
- Installation of reptile exclusion fencing
- Reptile trapping and translocation works
- Habitat enhancement and creation
You can read some case studies describing how we have helped clients with reptile surveys: