LEGISLATION
 
Reptiles
 
All six British reptiles receive legislative protection, the extent of which varies according to their rarity and conservation importance.
 
The very rare sand lizard and smooth snake receive 'full protection' under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) as well as protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (often referred to as the Habitats Directive). This means that they are protected from deliberate disturbance, killing, injury or capture and the habitat in which they live is also fully protected against damage or destruction.
 
Any activity involving disturbance or damage to habitats utilised by sand lizards or smooth snakes would require a licence issued by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) following consultation with the statutory nature conservation organisation (English Nature, Countryside Council for Wales or Scottish Natural Heritage).
 
Slow-worm, common lizard, grass snake and adder are 'partially protected' under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) which means that they are protected against intentional killing and injuring and against sale, but their habitat is not protected. In planning terms this means that the presence of these species is a material consideration and there is a requirement to ensure that any reptile interest is safeguarded. If a proposed development is likely to have an impact on these reptiles the statutory nature conservation organisation must be notified, particularly if capture and translocation is being proposed. In some parts of the UK sites that support common reptile species such as common lizard and slow-worm can qualify as County Wildlife Sites. Sites of this designation may receive protection in planning policy.
 
Amphibians
 
Unlike the common reptile species, the common amphibians (common frog, common toad, smooth newt & palmate newt) are only protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) from sale or trade and as such translocation exercises are rarely undertaken for any amphibian species other than the great crested newt.
 
The great crested newt receives 'full protection' under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as well as protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (the Habitats Directive). This means that great crested newts are protected from deliberate disturbance, killing, injury or capture and their habitat which includes a breeding pond, resting place or any place used for shelter or protection is protected against damage or destruction.
 
Any activity involving disturbance or damage to habitats utilised by great crested newts would require a licence issued by DEFRA following consultation with the statutory nature conservation organisation. Survey work, which involves causing disturbance to great crested newts or their habitat, requires a survey licence that is issued to suitably qualified consultants by the statutory nature conservation organisation.
 
Like the great crested newt the natterjack toad is also fully protected but it is rarely an issue for developers as this very rare species is restricted in distribution to heathland and coastal sand dune habitats. These sites are usually designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Special Areas of Conservation.
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