Penalties for offences include fines of up to £5000, plus up to six months imprisonment, for each illegal sett interference, badger injury or death.
If evidence of badgers is found on site after works have started all work in the area must cease immediately and an ecologist appointed to liase with the relevant statutory bodies.
Works may have to be delayed until mitigation can be carried out at the appropriate time of year.
An Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey in the planning stages of your project will indicate the presence of badgers on your site.
Badgers and their setts are protected under the Badgers Act 1992 (as amended). The act effectively makes it an offence to:
• kill or injure a badger
• interfere with a badger sett that shows signs of current use by badgers
The law is intended to prevent cruelty to badgers and is not intended as a measure to prevent development.
The presence of protected species is a material consideration when a planning authority is considering a development proposal. The presence of protected species and the affect of the proposed development must be established before planning permission can be granted.
As a guide badger surveys should be carried out when:
• Development proposals affecting woodland, or field hedgerows and/or lines of trees with obvious connectivity to woodland or suitable foraging habitat
• Development proposals affecting derelict land (brownfield sites), allotments and railway land and gardens
• Proposed development affecting any location where protected species are known to be present
Development has the potential to impact on badgers even if a sett is located outside of the development area. Badger setts within 30m of a development must also be taken into consideration.
How are Badger Surveys Conducted?
Badger Surveys can be carried out at any time of the year, although the summer months can present problems as deep vegetation can prevent access to areas which could potentially be used by badgers. An initial assessment of the site and surrounding area will be carried out looking for the sett entrances, badger tracks, badger latrines and other field signs of badgers such as hairs and feeding remains. This is included as part of an Extended Phase 1 habitat survey. If badgers are found then further survey work to establish the extent of the territory and number of badgers present may need to be carried out.