Badgers live in small social groups and are present in both rural and urban areas. Preferring areas of woodland, arable, copses and pasture, they live in underground tunnels and chambers called ‘setts’ and are most active during dusk, dawn and night-time.
Over the years, badger populations have been threatened by human activities, such as development, which often results in habitat loss and fragmentation. Furthermore, badgers have also been subject to persecution and disturbance linked to recreational activities.
Badgers are protected under UK laws, including:
- Protection of Badgers Act 1992
- Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996
Under these legislations badgers are protected from:
- Capturing, killing, injuring and disturbing;
- Damaging or destroying setts;
- Obstructing access to setts;
- Deliberately sending or intentionally allowing a dog into a sett;
- Marking or attaching a marking device to a badger; and
- Possessing, advertising for sale, selling or transporting for sale, live or dead (part or derivative).
What We Offer
Fundamentally, every development proposal and Local Planning Authority (“LPA”) requires sufficient information to make sure wildlife obtains the highest protection against injury or disturbance during development.
If your project has the potential to impact on local biodiversity, Greenlight Environmental Consultancy have the badger surveys and services to help. Read more about the specific surveys below:
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (“PEA”)
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals are typically required as a first step to initially address the ecological aspects of a planning application. Consisting of a site visit and a desktop assessment, a PEA can be conducted throughout the year and would offer recommendations of further badger surveys. This includes necessary assessments, appropriate mitigations and suitable enhancements for the proposed development.
Generally, presence/absence surveys entail surveying a site for evidence of badger activity. This includes identifying markers such as setts, tracks, latrines and hairs. These surveys can establish the presence or likely use of a site by the species and can be conducted throughout the year.
Camera Trap & Bait Marking Surveys
Camera trap surveys use trail cameras to monitor badgers’ setts for evidence of activity. Bait marking surveys aim to identify which latrines are associated with which badger setts. By placing food with plastic pellets of different colours at the entrance of each sett, our surveyors will pinpoint the territorial boundary of different badger groups and whether alternative setts are used by a same badger group. This information is important in order to decide where to create a new artificial sett. This type of survey can only be undertaken between February and April.
Protected Species Mitigation Licences
Protected Species Mitigation Licences are granted by Natural England and cover projects such as housing developments, the construction of pipelines and the building of new fences. At Greenlight, we can assist with obtaining a licence for your development which has no means to avoid interfering with badger setts.
Badger Exclusions & Sett Closure and Construction of Artificial Setts
When a Protected Species Mitigation Licence is granted, badger exclusion and sett closure can be undertaken. This includes installing a badger-proof exclusion fence or one-way gates on the sett entrances and destroying the sett once it is certain to be empty. Construction of artificial setts commonly use a mechanical digger to excavate the sett. Chambers are then created from concrete, breeze block or wood slabs, along with connecting tunnels constructed from concrete, clay or plastic pipes.
Overseeing Construction Works
The Greenlight team will watch and oversee construction works to ensure installation and works are kept outside a buffer zone, so destruction of badger setts and injury or killing of animals are avoided. This also includes toolbox talks.
Mitigation & Enhancements
When activities are likely to have an impact on badgers, a mitigation strategy tailored to avoid the specific issues on the site should be put in place.
Mitigation and enhancement measures for badgers include:
- creating a buffer zone around the setts;
- maintaining food and water sources and habitat connectivity;
- excluding badgers from an area of work;
- creating artificial badger setts and;
- improving habitats.
Greenlight Environmental Badger Surveys
Greenlight Environmental Consultancy offer a comprehensive service to assist with badger surveys and mitigation measures. Our skilled and dedicated team strive to complete these required assessments and enhancements with a fast turnaround and great attention to detail.
Give us a call to discuss your badger survey requirements today.