Badgers are protected by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Under this legislation, it is an offence to kill, injure or take any badger, or to interfere with active setts (including damage, destruction and obstruction). This species is relatively common and widespread within the UK, with an estimated population of 250,000. The distribution of badger populations is dense within the south of England occupying rural and urban landscapes of various habitats including woodlands and copses.
What can affect badgers and their setts?
Removal of heathland
Removal of trees or hedgerows
Clearance of scrub vegetation
Change of use of a site
Development of roads
What needs to be done?
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal – This initial survey confirms the site is utilised by badgers and determines if further surveys are required.
Phase 2 Badger surveys- A site walkover will identify locations of badger setts and assess the type of sett, current use of a sett and badger activity across the site by identifying field signs of badgers.
Phase 3 Badger surveys- include bait marking and footprint traps.These surveys identify badger social territories to determine the status of a sett and if sett relocation will be a significant impact to a social group.
Badger Licence applications- A license is granted from Natural England to interfere with a badger sett.
Badger Mitigation Strategies- A mitigation strategy is required to set out a series of methods to avoid, mitigate and compensate the impacts to badger setts.
Ecological Watching Brief for badgers - enims Ltd ecologists will advise measures to avoid or minimise the impacts of vegetation clearance and excavation works to badger setts.
Badger Sett Closure- If development impacts to badger setts are unavoidable, a badger sett may require closure and relocation to an artificial badger sett.
In order to assess if badgers may be affected by development, a survey will be required to assess the constraints and impacts.
Phase 2 Badger surveys
A badger survey may be required on your proposed site if there is evidence of a badger sett nearby or indeed within the proposed development site. enims Ltd undertakes surveys that adhere to good practice guidelines published by the mammal society called ‘Surveying Badgers'.
Badger surveys can take place at any time of year, the survey will assess if there are setts present and if so, how they may be affected by the proposed development. Badger surveys assess how they are utilising the works site including identifying locations of badger setts and the type of sett. We use the latest technology and survey methods to ensure that the information we have is the most accurate and will assist in determining if the proposed works are going to impact on this species, and if so, what mitigation should be implemented to protect them from the proposed works.
Phase 3 Badger surveys
A phase 3 badger survey will determine the extent of badger social group territories and thus the significance of any effects of the proposed scheme on the badger population either through disturbance of setts, loss of foraging habitat, or severance of commuting routes. Phase 3 surveys will produce a badger territory map showing the status of badger setts and boundaries of badger social group territories. This map will inform impact assessments and mitigation measures to minimise the impact of development on badger setts.
Badger Mitigation Strategy
A mitigation strategy attempts to avoid the impact of development or construction works on badger setts by alternating the project design and incorporating buffer zones around badger setts. These strategies identify measures to deter badger sett use by advising the installation of fencing and as a last resort close and relocate a badger sett by creating artificial setts. The mitigation strategy will recommend precautionary measures to protect badgers from works and design tunnels or corridors to minimise badger casualties from large-scale road developments.
Ecological Watching Brief for Badgers
Ecological Watching Briefs provide on-site support for identifying badger sett locations and exclusion zones to protect setts from disturbance caused by the works. enims Ltd ecologists provide tailed advice to the type of machinery used for the works and resolve constraints associated with badgers and development.
Badger Mitigation License Applications
If interference with a badger sett cannot be avoided, a license should be granted from Natural England for a development to interfere with each badger sett by producing an application form and method statement. These documents will outline the impacts of development on badgers if no mitigation measures were planned and set out the means of impact avoidance, mitigation and compensation with respect to badger setts.
Badger Sett Closure
Badgers are known to build setts within areas of vegetation, ditches, under buildings, woodlands and hedgerows. If this happens the vegetation clearance, excavation and demolition of buildings cannot commence until all badger setts are closed and relocated to artificial setts. enims Ltd can provide a team of ecologists to successfully close and relocate a badger sett.
If you require support for your project please call the enims team on 0845 644 0196.