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British reptiles are protected by law and their presence on a development site can have implications for construction projects in a range of sectors, including house-building, infrastructure and renewable energy. Our experienced ecology consultants have the knowledge, expertise and licenses to identify whether reptiles are present and, if necessary, arrange mitigation procedures to allow the development to proceed and meet all legal requirements.

Ecologists Steve Docker and Courtenay Holden were lucky to photograph the moment a juvenile grass snake (one of the UK's six reptile species) was uncovered during a reptile survey

Ecologists Steve Docker and Courtenay Holden were lucky to photograph the moment a juvenile grass snake (one of the UK’s six reptile species) was uncovered during a reptile survey

All British reptiles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended by the CRoW Act 2000) and listed as Species of Principal Importance under the provisions of the NERC Act 2006. Grass snake, slow worm, common lizard and adder are protected against intentional killing, injury and against sale; whilst the rarer smooth snake and sand lizard are also protected against disturbance whilst occupying a ‘place used for shelter or protection’ and the destruction of such places. In addition, smooth snake and sand lizard are protected under the Habitats Regulations 2010, making them European Protected Species. Mitigating the impact of developments on reptiles is, therefore, crucial.

For more information on how we carry out reptile surveys and mitigate the impact of developments on reptiles for our clients, visit our reptile survey page.

Spring and summer are the busiest seasons in our surveying calendar, with our ecologists travelling across the UK and Europe carrying out a wide variety of surveys for our clients. Here are a selection of the best ecology survey pictures from 2015 so far.

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The video below shows our Technical Director Carlos Abrahams assessing a tree for its potential to support bat roosts and searching for evidence of roosting bats. It demonstrates the climbing ability and strength our ecologists need for this type of survey!

Read the full article about tree-climbing bat surveys here.

For more about our recent projects, explore the rest of our news articles or visit our case studies page.

This newsflash has just been received from Natural England announcing the withdrawal of its reptile mitigation guidelines.

Consultants and interested parties are being encouraged to provide contributions to the
re-drafting process, but the contact details do not appear to be on the NE web site but can be found on the IEEM web site.

Reptile Mitigation Guidelines withdrawn

All staff involved in planning-related reptile mitigation work should note that following some useful early feedback from ecological consultants, Natural England has decided to withdraw the first edition of the Reptile Mitigation Guidelines (Technical Information Note No. 102, dated 9 September 2011) to enable various points to be clarified and addressed.  This is an important work area, potentially affecting large numbers of planning applications in England, so we wish to ensure that the guidelines are as clear and as widely accepted as possible.

The first edition of the Reptile Mitigation Guidelines is therefore null and void.  All quotes, surveys and technical reports produced by consultants using older guidance (i.e. pre-dating TIN102) will still be acceptable, even if the work continues into 2012.  Any new fee proposals produced can also continue to follow previous guidance until such time as the guidelines have been re-published.  To reduce this inevitable overlap period, the second edition of the Reptile Mitigation Guidelines will be issued as soon as possible, certainly before the start of the next active season for reptiles.

In the meantime, the first edition can be treated as a draft and we are giving interested parties a chance to make additional comments to help us further improve the guidelines.  The deadline for these contributions is 1 January 2012.

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

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Natural England has released new mitigation guidelines for reptiles. The pdf is available for download here
TIN102.