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Reptilian relocation on the Isle of Grain

Common lizard

Aggregate Industries invest £425,000 in the migration of reptiles to safe new home

AGGREGATE Industries’ facility on the Isle of Grain has embarked on another major conservation project – this time to safely migrate a number of reptile species to a new home.

With this flagship terminal in Kent comprising 40 acres of rich habitat and providing home to over 260 species of mammals, birds, invertebrates and reptiles, earlier this year the firm temporarily rehomed dozens of water voles ahead of an extensive renovation of the site.

Taking further measures to reduce any impact the modification works may have on local wildlife, this August also saw Aggregate Industries commence a capture scheme to safely migrate reptiles such as grass snakes and common lizards to a dedicated receptor site nearby, which will be their new home.

To ensure the reptiles were captured as efficiently as possible, the process involved deploying 1,400 artificial refugia ‘tins’ across the site. These were left for two weeks to ‘bed in’ and were then checked for reptiles twice a day for a minimum of 30 days.

Each check was undertaken at appropriate times of the day, with the optimum weather conditions for reptile surveying being temperatures between 10°C and 17°C, intermittent or hazy sunshine and little or no wind.

Surveyors checked the tins on consecutive days until the trapping period was complete, with the capture programme continuing until there were five clear days when no reptiles were found.

Thanks to the huge effort and commitment of the Aggregate Industries team and all those involved, by now [early November] all the reptiles should be safely relocated in their new home.

Reflecting Aggregate Industries’ keen support for safeguarding the ecology on the Isle of Grain, this latest conservation project has cost in excess of £425,000, with the company investing a total of £625,000 to date.

Phil Daniels, construction manager at Aggregate Industries, commented: ‘As a business that takes its ecological responsibility incredibly seriously, protecting the local wildlife and eco-system has been the number one priority before we begin work on our Isle of Grain terminal.

‘After carrying out a full assessment of the land, a number of diverse species of mammals, reptiles and birds were identified, including grass snakes and common lizards.

‘Following the successful relocation of the area’s water voles earlier this year, we wanted to implement a similar programme for reptiles to keep them out of harm’s way too.

‘Although it’s a lengthy and exhaustive ongoing process, it’s well worth it and it has been wonderful to see the reptiles safely arrive in their new home.’

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