There are six native species of reptile found in the UK:

  • Grass snake (Natrix Helvetica),
  • Adder (Vipera berus),
  • Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca),
  • Slow worm (Anguis fragilis),
  • Common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and
  • Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis).

These species are protected from killing, injury and taking under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).  Smooth snakes and sand lizards are also European Protected Species (EPS) and it is illegal to disturb or destroy their resting places. Survey work must be done to determine their presence or likely absence of reptiles from areas of suitable habitat.

Survey timings

Reptile surveys can be undertaken during suitable temperature and weather conditions. This is usually between March and September, with April and May being optimal. Surveys normally consist of the distribution of refugia (e.g. roofing felt or corrugated metal which reptiles use for shelter and to regulate their temperature) in areas of suitable habitat.

Our ecologists will check these refugia on an appropriate number of separate occasions and will record any reptiles we find.


If reptiles are found

If a population of common reptiles is found, we can create a method statement for any planning application which will detail plans on excluding reptiles from the site. If the impact on them cannot be avoided, translocation to a suitable area may be required. We can assist with finding and creation of an alternative habitat.

In the case of smooth snakes and sand lizards, an application to the applicable Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO), e.g. Natural England for an EPS mitigation licence will also need to be made.

Mitigation calendar

Reptile mitigation calendar

Our expertise

Our ecology consultants have extensive experience of successfully delivering projects with reptile constraints. We can advise on habitat creation and translocation. We are are well versed in providing solution focussed advice when it comes to protected species and are always on hand to help.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of reptile ecology or mitigation, do not hesitate to contact Barry Wheeler

Meet the Ecology team