There are six native species of reptile in the UK, all with very different ecology and behaviour and found in a wide range of habitats. Of these, the adder, grass snake, common lizard and slow worm are in decline but are relatively widespread. They are protected under domestic law and it is illegal to kill or injure them. The rarer species, smooth snake and sand lizard, are European Protected Species and have a higher level of protection. It is illegal to disturb, kill or injure them and it is illegal to destroy, obstruct or damage their breeding sites / resting places.

Reptiles are often overlooked in the early stages of consultation, due to the diversity, specialist nature and low profile of reptile species compared to other animals, which can lead to delays.

Direct experience with reptile species and knowledge of their habitats is difficult to gain. However, our team at OpenSpace have the specialist reptile knowledge needed for a qualified survey and suitable mitigation regarding our native species.

Experience in handling and the behaviour of reptiles, means we can conduct an efficient translocation (involving the capture of reptiles), therefore clearing a site from reptiles within the desired timescale and ensuring works can commence on schedule.

Should reptile species be present on a site our straightforward mitigation would aim to avoid or minimise impact. This would include protecting individuals from harm and ensuring them access to suitable habitat that would enable the population status to be favourably maintained. Reptile mitigation often involves habitat work and specialist practical installations such as reptile fencing, the creation of refugia and hibernacula and habitat enhancement works.

Where a project may involve sand lizard or smooth snake, it may be required to gain a mitigation licence prior to the commencement of works as they are European Protected Species.

Our OpenSpace conservation contracting team can also provide all the practical aspects of mitigation and habitat management.

Please note that the period for reptile surveying is seasonal, so to avoid delays see our survey and mitigation Calendar.

Our team at OpenSpace will be happy to advise on any reptile survey queries. You can contact the team on 01228 711841 or email We can provide a no obligation quote if you wish.

Updated April 2017