Smooth snakes and sand lizards: apply for a mitigation licence

Get a licence to carry out work that may affect smooth snakes or sand lizards.



You need a mitigation licence if your work will have impacts on smooth snakes and sand lizards that would otherwise be illegal, such as:

  • capturing, killing, disturbing or injuring them (on purpose or by not taking enough care)
  • damaging or destroying their breeding or resting places (even accidentally)
  • obstructing access to their resting or sheltering places (on purpose or by not taking enough care)

Find out how smooth snakes and sand lizards are protected.

What you need to send

When applying for a mitigation licence, you need to complete the application form available on this page.

You also need to supply:

  • a method statement to show what you’ll do to reduce the impacts of the proposed work on smooth snakes and sand lizards
  • a work schedule to show when you’ll do the activities and in what order
  • a reasoned statement to show that the activity fits the criteria and that there is no satisfactory alternative
  • references to show that the ecological consultant has the necessary experience to apply for a mitigation licence (references won’t be needed if they’ve held a mitigation licence for the same species in the last 3 years)

If the application is for a phased or multi-plot development, you should supply:

  • a master plan
  • a habitat management and maintenance plan

Licences are free. Allow up to 30 working days for a licensing decision to be made.

How to report your actions

You are required to report any actions you took under this licence to Natural England using the European protected species return form.

You need to complete the report no later than 2 weeks after your licence expires, even if you’ve taken no action. There may be times when you’ll be asked to submit interim reports as well.