The presence of any reptile species on a site is a material planning concern, and mitigation measures should be agreed to minimise the risk of the development resulting in the killing or injury of reptiles as part of the planning application process.
Where possible reptile friendly habitats should be preserved on site and reptiles populations conserved in situ. Where this is not practicable, reptiles may need to be re-located to suitable alternative habitats close by. Reptile mitigation strategies can be time consuming and costly to plan and implement -particularly if they need to be based on habitat creation and managment of off site land that is not in the ownership of the developer.
Typically land areas supporting reptiles that need to relocated in advance of construction would be enclosed with reptile proof fencing, and artificial refugia used to help capture reptiles during the reptile active season. The amount of capture effort required to clear a site of reptiles will be dependent upon the size of the reptile population, the time of year and weather conditions.
CHMS Ltd has extensive experience in planning and implementing reptile mitigation schemes to enable development
Reptile exclusion fencing
Construction and installation of all types of exclusion and one way fencing to accomodate all types of sites. Reptile fencing can be either temporary or permanent depending on the time scale of the site.
Artificial reptile refugias and Pitfall traps
Depending on the size of the site, a number of artificial refugias are layed out within the site. This is to aid the capture of reptiles and speed up the process of capture and translocation of reptiles.
Before capturing of reptiles begins, a receptor site must be sourced and approved. Ideally, this should be as close to the capture site. If this is not possible, a receptor site can be approved by a number of conservation bodies.
Where there is high poulations of reptiles within the site, a useful mitigation is to degrade the habitat to allow quicker capture rates. Strimming and or cutting of vegetation in two stages to remove suitable reptile habitat, which increases reptiles using the artificial refugias within the site. This should always be performed under the supervision of an experienced ecologist.
Where a site has many areas for reptiles to escape from capturing, a destructive search can be adopted. This Involves strategic and careful removal of turf, stones, topsoil and other suitable natural reptile refugias/habitats by an excavator. It is performed under the close supervision of an experienced Ecologist to confirm that no wildlife remains on the site. This is the final stage in a mitigation plan to ensure that any protected species have been from the development site. Upon completion of a destructive search construction works are often free to commence.