Reptile translocation and urban regeneration

The former Vesuvius industrial foundry site in Nottinghamshire, is a brown field site that is to be commercially re-developed by Commercial Estates Group (CEG). Development includes a hotel, supermarket, and a football stadium for Worksop Town FC together with over 200,000 square feet of employment accommodation. The site consists of hard-standing, neutral rough grassland, a railway embankment, an old football pitch and two Local Wildlife Sites, Tranker’s Wood and Tranker’s Marsh.

Three species of reptiles are present on the site, with a significant population of slow worms present in the development footprint, which needed to be translocated to other areas of the site. Baker Consultants was contracted to manage the translocation process and monitoring.

Slow worm

Slow worm

Methodology

Working with Legacy Habitat, an exclusion fence was erected around the receptor site. Destructive searches were carried out, clearing rubble and debris, which could be used by reptiles as refugia and basking areas, adjacent to the railway embankment. Habitat creation was then carried out in the receptor site to make it more suitable for reptiles.

Why Baker Consultants?

Baker Consultants is experienced in reptile translocation and reptile survey work, and has a long-term working relationship with CEG on a variety of projects. The Baker Consultants team was involved early in the project to ensure that survey timescales would not cause any delays to the overall project. All third party consultees were contacted and a working method statement sent to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (NWT) and local biological recorders for comment.

So far over 300 slow worms, 22 common lizards and one grass snake have been found. Trapping was completed in late summer 2010; although reptiles are active between March and October, generally it is best to catch them during April, May or September, when temperatures are cooler.

Future

A full management plan for the site is underway, with the aim of increasing suitable habitat on site for reptiles. NWT and a local amphibian group will be approached regarding monitoring of this important population.

Baker Consultants is investigating the suitability of green roofs in the finished development to see if it is possible that they could support populations of slow worms.

Kelly Clark, Principal Ecologist at Baker Consultants said:

“The translocation of slow worms and other reptiles on the site has truly been amazing. To see so many slow worms up close and personal has been wonderful and such a learning curve. Who would have thought this tiny corner in North Nottinghamshire would have so many lizards hanging around an old factory site? They are so inquisitive and will often be caught looking into the camera! What has been most satisfying is releasing them in the receptor site, and a year later seeing them basking together in newly created habitat.”

David Hodgson

“The team at Baker Consultants delivers a professional and pragmatic service. We can rely on them to provide robust advice even if we don’t always like it! They ensure that we meet all our obligations cost-effectively and with consideration given to the commercial realities of bringing forward development.”

David HodgsonDevelopment Manager, CEG