When planning a development, it’s important to consider the potential presence of badgers in, or in the vicinity of, the works area. If a preliminary ecological appraisal has identified a sett, you may need to do a badger survey.

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 protects both badgers and their setts. This legislation is welfare-based rather than conservation-based, to prevent intentionally cruelty, such as baiting. It is an offence to either intentionally or recklessly interfere with, damage, or block a badger’s sett while it’s in use.

The Act does allow for working with badgers when justified under license. A license can be applied for if a new development will affect a badger population or when badgers are causing damage to utilities, property or archaeological features.

All our badger surveys are carried out by experienced, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) registered ecologists.

Contact details

Carrying out surveys

It is possible to survey for badgers at any time of the year. The optimal period however is from November to April when evidence is easier to find.

ecology survey legend

As badgers are nocturnal, we will look for signs of badgers being present rather than try to record sightings. This will include looking for setts, tracks, fur, latrines, signs of feeding, etc.

If badgers are present

What you need to do

If works will impact a badger setts, and these impacts are unavoidable, setts may need to close under license. We will be able to apply for a license on your behalf through a Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO) e.g. Natural England.

From December to the end of June, works that could disturb badgers or damage setts are not allowed. Works may be carried out under license between July and November.

With a license in place, we will fit one-way gates to setts to exclude badgers. Exclusion can happen from the start of July until the end of November when no badger cubs are present.

Mitigation and compensation

If it’s not possible to avoid badgers during development, our ecologists can provide expert advice on the best mitigation or compensation strategy.

Mitigation and compensation for impacts on badgers can include:

  • Tunnels beneath roads within the development,
  • Burial of badger-proof barriers,
  • The creation of artificial setts.

When it comes to the creation of artificial setts, we are well placed to advise on construction.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of badger ecology or mitigation, do not hesitate to contact Associate Director Joanna Graham joanna.graham@adas.co.uk.

badger sett construction

Meet the Ecology team