Building work at West Sussex housing development halted for worm's hibernation period

A colony of slow worms halted the construction of a housing development in West Sussex.

The slow worms are to be relocated from the building site but couldn’t be disturbed during their hibernation period. Building work has therefore been halted for seven months.

A colony of the protected species were discovered during an ecological survey at Forest Road, Midhurst.

Leslie Hoult, from the Downland Housing Association, said: "You can't move the reptiles during their hibernation period, which is from September to March depending on the seasonal weather changes, so we have actually had a delay."

The creatures are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The removal should be complete by July or August, when building work on 46 flats and houses can then begin.