Ecologists are working with developers AECOM to ensure that wildlife is safely removed from land being taken over by the Silvertown Quays development.

Thomson Habitats has moved to assure the community that the animals are being safeguarded during the early phase of construction at Royal Docks.

Reptiles were discovered at the site and a portion of vegetation has been removed before the bird breeding season so as not to disturb their nesting.

Business manager for Thomson Habitats David Grimmond said: “This is an iconic project and one that we are excited to be involved with.

“Around 4.5ha of the site is vegetated and so far we have cleared a substantial amount of this. We are looking forward to returning later in the year to undertake the rest of the vegetation clearance.”

If work had not been done before the nesting season then, as it is illegal to disturb the creatures during the time of year, building would have been delayed until the young birds have fledged.

Silvertown Quays will deliver 3,000 new homes and five million sq ft of commercial space

The ecologists are using an ultra low-ground pressure skidsteer – a mini digger – with brush cutting and mulching attachments, to minimise disturbance.

David said: “As it is an offence to disturb nesting birds, vegetation would not have been able to be cleared if we had entered the nesting bird season, and if birds had taken advantage of the scrub and brambles.

“The vegetation on site was cleared, before the breeding bird season, to remove the risk of nesting birds.

“The site itself however may need to undergo a period of trapping, during which the reptiles would be captured and trans-located. Clearing the vegetation would have helped with this operation also.”

The first phase of the £3.5billion Silvertown development is due to be completed by 2018.

Once finished, it will deliver 3,000 homes and five million sq ft of commercial space.