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Badger Surveys

Badgers are a nocturnal species that live in large family groups underground in structures called setts. SettsBadger are usually located within woodlands or hedgerows and usually on a slope in ‘diggable’ soil. These setts can be: Main, Annex, Subsidiary or Outlying setts, with main setts being used all year round, with fresh mounds of soil at their entrances and well worn paths leading to them. A single territory may range in size from 30 to 150ha or more, and contain anywhere from 2 to 23 individuals.

Badgers and the Law:

Due to past persecution, badgers are now protected in the UK under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (as amended), making it illegal to:

  • Take, injure or kill a badger.

  • Cruelly ill treat a badger.

  • Interfere with a badger sett.

  • Mark or ring a badger.

  • Sell or possess a live badger.


It is important to know whether badgers are using your site, as this piece of legislation can put certain constraints on development if not dealt with at a very early stage. The aim of a badger survey is to determine whether your site is being used by badgers and if so how. This is important as badger commuting routes and foraging habitat must be considered as well as the badger sett. Removing foraging habitat through development can result in badgers starving and so appropriate mitigation must be considered carefully.

Badger surveys can be undertaken all year round, however signs of badger activity are most easily seen between February and April, and again in October. The survey will involve looking for signs of badger activity within and up to a 1 km radius around the site. Badger signs include; the entrances to badger setts, footprints, latrines, hairs, runs and foraging signs. Should evidence be found to suggest badgers are using the site, recommendations will be made on how best to proceed with development.

Badger survey timeline

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Simon Horne, Principal Consultant, SRH Design Consultants


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