We can undertake Badger Surveys for planning applications…
Badgers are sociable mammals that live in groups or clans within a territory. Their setts consist of a network of underground tunnels and chambers and a clan will often have a number of setts within their given territory, i.e. their main sett plus other smaller setts which are used less frequently. Badgers will build their setts into sloping ground (e.g. hedgerows, embankments etc) and underground tunnels can extend for many metres. They are omnivores and will forage widely for food including earthworms, grubs, small mammals and fruit.
Survey Types & Timing
Badger surveys can be undertaken throughout the year, although field signs are easier to detect during the winter months due to the reduced vegetation cover. Badgers do not hibernate but become significantly less active during very cold weather and may leave their setts less frequently. A badger survey involves a walkover search of the sett looking for badger field signs such as setts, badger runs, snuffle holes (evidence of foraging), latrines, badger hairs (on fences and vegetation) and paw prints. If it is necessary to find out the extent of the clan’s territory and whether it overlaps with another territory then a bait marking exercise can be undertaken. A survey licence is not required for general non-intrusive badger survey methods.
Legislation & Planning
Badgers and their setts are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which makes it illegal to kill, injure or take badgers or to interfere with a badger sett. Badgers are also protected under Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Next Step
Only setts that are currently in use are covered by wildlife legislation. If works will occur at or near an active sett and the sett will be damaged or destroyed, or there will be a significant level of noise and disturbance in proximity to the sett, a licence may need to be applied for from Natural England or the relevant body. Licenses can be obtained for disturbing setts or, where necessary, closing and destroying setts. Before a badger sett is closed and destroyed an artificial sett must be built as mitigation. The artificial sett will need to be in place for at least six months before the original sett is destroyed and it must shows sign of use by badgers.