Badger mitigation - a success

Badger mitigation – a success

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

An excellent briefing on badgers took place at our main office yesterday.  Toni Harrington, Senior Ecologist at The Ecology Consultancy, described in detail the challenges of surveying for badgers, understanding how they live in the local area, and mitigating any impacts during development.

This event, our first in a series of expert-led Breakfast Briefings, was well attended by delegates from development companies and local authorities.  They learned how robust techniques coupled with an understanding of badger ecology and habitat, can result in successful badger mitigation.

Badgers and their setts are protected under law. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 makes it a criminal offence to kill or cruelly treat a badger or to wilfully damage a badger sett.  It follows that development work, planned to take place where badgers are present, needs to include survey work to ascertain the level of activity of the sett, and possibly a mitigation strategy if a sett must be destroyed.

A special licence for this work must be obtained from Natural England and licences  are issued  once planning permission has been granted and an appropriate mitigation strategy has been approved.  Sett closure can only take place between 1st July and 30th November, when the young are independent.  Additional mitigation is required before a main sett is closed, which includes the construction of an artificial sett. The artificial sett should be located away from future development proposals and ideally within 100m of the existing sett and adjacent to an existing badger path, to maximise the chance of the badgers finding it. Peanuts are often used as bait to entice badgers into their new home.

The artificial sett should be monitored for signs of use by badgers before the old sett is closed. The Ecology Consultancy has recently reported the successful adoption of an artificial sett by badgers. Confirmed use of the artificial sett by badgers has been shown by conventional field signs and the use of camera trap. See the video here.

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