Expert Reptile Surveys
Fast and professional reptile surveys from £200+VAT. Ensure you stay on the right side of the law when reptiles may be present on your site. Reptile Surveys & follow-up action plans.
Reptiles are naturally good at staying hidden – it’s in their nature. But just because they’re well hidden, doesn’t mean you should ignore the chance that they could be on your development site. As specialist ecological surveyors, Indigo Surveys can help you conduct a reptile survey to help your development stay on course and avoid additional costs.
What is a Reptile Survey?
A reptile survey is a thorough investigation and data collection procedure designed to provide detailed information about potential reptiles on your development site. It will first help establish if reptiles are present on your site. Then it will establish whether there are habitats that could support reptiles on site. If there is evidence to suggest that reptiles are present then data will be collected to help understand the population size and type.
Our surveyors keep up to date with the latest methods of data collection and have unrivalled knowledge in the area. Given that reptiles are so adept at staying hidden, it’s important for the surveyor to truly understand the potential reptiles in the area and how they might use the area to their benefit. This knowledge is invaluable when trying to collect evidence of elusive reptiles at development sites.
When is a Reptile Survey necessary?
Reptiles are declining in the UK. Their numbers and habitats are dwindling because of human activity, so if you’re a site manager or developer, then it’s your responsibility to ensure that the activities you carry out on site are as minimally disruptive as it’s possible to be.
Of course, when you develop an area some disruption will take place, but a reptile survey is necessary to help you understand exactly which species are present on your site, how many, how they utilise the area, and, most importantly of all, how you can take certain steps to ensure that your site development is as reptile-friendly as it can be.
All native reptile species in the UK are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) – meaning protecting them and their habitats is a legal requirement for all developers and site managers.
Repercussions of failing to get a Reptile Survey
Completing a reptile survey at your development site is about more than just doing the right, moral thing. There are legal repercussions if you fail to carry out a reptile survey and are unable to demonstrate steps you have taken to minimise disruption.
Disrupting reptiles in the UK could lead to a fine of up to £5000 per animal disturbed in some cases, and if you disrupt them knowingly in a reckless manner, then you could also find yourself facing up to six months in prison.
Starting at just £200+VAT, it makes sense to opt for a reptile survey with us now to prevent legal and financial consequences in the future.
Native Reptiles in the UK
There are 6 native reptiles in the UK which a reptile survey will focus on:
- Grass snake
- Smooth snake
- Slow worm
- Common lizard
- Sand lizard
Are there any protected reptile species in the UK?
Yes. Both smooth snakes and sand lizards are incredibly rare species in the UK and a reptile survey looking out for these reptiles will need to be carried out by a fully licensed ecologist. Thankfully, Indigo Surveys can help you there with our specialist surveyors and consultants.
Common Reptile habitats in the UK
Knowing common reptile habitats in the UK is vital, because it means as a developer you’ll be more conscious of potential reptiles in the following areas, meaning you will likely need a reptile survey to be carried out:
- Sand dunes
- Brownfield sites
Log piles, stony areas, and dense vegetation are all hotspots for reptiles, meaning if you have these areas on your development site, it’s quite possible that you’ll have reptiles present.
What will a Reptile Survey cover?
A reptile survey usually takes place across two phases, followed by a mitigation plan if reptiles are present on your site.
Phase 1 of a reptile survey can take place at any time of the year, which is good news for developers, as this first phase focuses on finding out if your land is even suitable for reptiles and whether or not they’re likely to be present.
The following tasks will take place:
- Site visit from one of our reptile survey experts
- Looking for signs of reptiles
- Looking for signs of reptile habitats
- Noting down habitats of ecological importance for reptiles
- Local record check to see if known populations are already present
If at this stage no evidence of reptiles is found, then you’ll usually be cleared to continue your site development as usual. If evidence of reptiles is found, then phase 2 of the reptile survey will need to take place.
The second phase of the reptile survey will need to take place between March and October, where reptiles are most active. Within this timeframe, April-September are usually the best times to carry out phase 2 of a reptile survey, because all possible reptiles on your site ought to be active during this time.
This phase focuses on the extent of the population on your site to help establish their numbers and species. The following tasks will take place:
- Data collection will take place between April and September to monitor reptile activity levels and may require multiple site visits
- Identifying species
- Mimicking habitats to encourage reptiles into areas for better observation
- Establishing population numbers
- Thorough investigation into the area’s geography, topography, and habitats
As soon as you know the full extent of the reptile population on your site, our expert ecologists and consultants will help put a mitigation plan in place to support your site development whilst supporting the reptiles on site too.
The mitigation plan will look different for each site, because each site will be different and each reptile population will use that site differently. Although each mitigation plan will be unique to the site, they’ll always focus on the best ways to:
- Avoid impacting the reptiles present
- Reduce impact on the reptiles present
- Mitigate the impact on the reptiles present
This will all look different at each site, but our expert team will be able to help you plan a path forward for your development that keeps your plans on track and protects the reptiles on your site at the same time.
How long will a Reptile Survey take?
Exactly how long a reptile survey takes depends on a few factors. If you only need to complete phase 1 of the survey because no signs of reptiles have been found, then this will be completed much faster. If you need phase 2 to be completed, then this will take several site visits and could be delayed further by the time of year.
For example, if you complete phase 1 of the reptile survey in November and there are signs of reptiles being present, then you’ll have to wait until March at the earliest (preferably April) before the second phase can be carried out.
As with anything in a developer’s work, proper planning is necessary here to ensure your reptile survey doesn’t delay site development for longer than it needs to – and when you work with Indigo Surveys you’ll be working with a team of professionals with two priorities:
- Completing a thorough reptile survey for the benefits of the reptiles
- Working efficiently to get your development back on track as soon as possible