Badgers and their setts – in other words their homes - are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. It is an offence to kill or injure them or to interfere with a sett. You will need a Badger Survey if you're applying for planning permission and badgers or their setts will be affected by your project. 'Affected' in this context can mean anything from disturbing the animals with traffic noise to destroying their setts.
About Badger Surveys
Quite often, we pick up the presence of badgers via an Ecology Scoping or Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, which means you don't always need a full badger survey. But if there are badgers on site or within the immediate adjacent land and you can't avoid disturbing either the badgers or their setts, or minimise the disturbance your work will entail, it it likely that you will need a more detailed survey. In complex developments a more extensive survey looking at bait marking may required, in order to establish the full extent of the animals' territories.
Step one of a badger survey involves identifying badger setts on and around your site. If badgers are present and the setts are in use, the setts are classified into different types of sett and carefully mapped. We will also look for:
Badger trails and footprints;
Badger latrines and droppings;
Signs of feeding;
Active setts complete with spoil, mud and paths outside;
Bedding materials, new and old;
Badger hairs and scratch marks; and
Your surveyor should be able to let you know fairly quickly whether or not badgers are on the site. This means you can make an early start on applying for the necessary badger licence, scheduling planning permission and arranging your site logistics.
If you can't avoid disturbing a badger sett, you may need to make an application to exclude badgers. This can sometimes involve detailed mitigation, for example building a new artificial sett to move the badgers into prior to evicting them from their current sett.
More than a conservation matter – It's also about safety
Badgers' networks of complex underground tunnels can be very dangerous for contractors and their machinery. That's why we recommend having a full badger survey if there's any chance that badgers have setts on site. Your survey will provide useful information on what development is allowed, and the scope of the restrictions or licences required.
About Badger Licences
Before you apply for a Badger Licence you need a survey to map the extent of the badger setts on site and other field signs. The badger survey will locate different types of sett to establish the importance and use of the sett on site to provide information on the mitigation required.
Because badgers live in clans, this can be a complicated process. Badgers can't just move into another clan's sett. Every clan of badgers has a main sett plus other setts such as annex, subsidiary or outlying setts with the main one in continual use and the rest sporadically. If the development may impact a main sett, large amounts of mitigation including the construction of a new sett may be required.
Planning officers use the results of a badger survey to help decide whether or not to grant planning permission, and also to inform your licence application with Natural England.
Considerable delays in your construction project, or changes to your plans, might mean you need another, more up-to-date badger survey. This is because main setts can remain in use for decades, however levels of activity at other setts can change. We will be able to advise you about the period in which survey reports remain valid and when a resurvey is required.
If you're carrying out a long term development project, especially if it's likely to affect badger movements or feeding patterns, interim reports are useful to provide information on badger movement and assess any impacts from the development, this may also determine if you need an updated survey.
Arrange a Badger Survey
While we can carry out badger surveys all year round, licenced mitigation can only be carried out between July and November.
If you'd like to go ahead or have any questions, call us on 01865 893346 or: