Natural England has launched new guidelines on survey and site
mitigation for reptiles, producing a single set of standards for good
practice in reptile ecology work. It is aimed at developers, local
authorities and consultants.

All species of reptile are now on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)
priority list, so their conservation has to be taken into account during
the planning process, whenever a site supports populations of grass
snake, slow worm, common lizard or other reptiles.

Our Principal Ecologist Kelly Clark writes:

Natural England has launched new guidelines on survey and site mitigation for reptiles, producing a single set of standards for good practice in reptile ecology work. It is aimed at developers, local authorities and consultants.

All species of reptile are now on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority list, so their conservation has to be taken into account during the planning process, whenever a site supports populations of grass snake, slow worm, common lizard or other reptiles.

The new guidelines present changes to presence / absence surveys methodology and the amount of visits that are undertaken at particular times of year. This may have implications for project planning and the implementation of ecological work.

The new guidance allows for more flexibility with timing of surveys, as now it is possible to survey from February to October, rather than only around the months of April/May and September.  But there are costs associated with this flexibility, as significantly more visits and survey effort are required to satisfy the guidelines outside of the key periods. TIN102 also presents impact mitigation guidelines which could also have a resourcing implication for any proposed development.

Kelly Clark commented….”When we are developing the costings of future reptile survey work, we will need to work more closely with the client to think through the project timescale. A balance will need to be reached between being cost effective, whilst adhering to the guidelines. If reptiles are an issue for a proposed site, then it is advised that the developer speaks to a consultant ecologist early in the project about what is required and how long it may take to complete the work in order to prevent delays.”

A PDF is downloadable here: Reptile mitigation guidelines