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Badger Sett Closure
Why Would a Badger Sett Closure be Required?
Badger sett closure may be required if badger setts are found on a development site. Badger clans occupy and breed in something called a sett. A sett is a system of chambers and tunnels, excavated by generations of badgers, which are large and interconnected. As badgers are a protected species under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992, it is against the law to intentionally kill, injure, or disturb a badger. It is also illegal to damage, destroy, or obstruct access to an occupied sett.
A badger survey should be undertaken by a qualified ecologist to find out if badgers are present on a development site. It may be necessary to exclude badgers from a development site for specific projects, and this can be achieved through the use of a sett closure.
Arranging a Badger Sett Closure
A license to interfere with a badger sett will need to be obtained from Natural England prior to the sett closure. Mitigation and compensation measures should be detailed within the license method statement. The sett closure process needs to be carried out between July and November and should be undertaken by an experienced Ecologist.
Badger Sett Closure – Methodology
Closure of a badger sett usually involves setting up one-way badger gates on each hole of the sett. Wire mesh is generally placed on the ground of the surrounding area to prevent badgers from digging. The ecologist would usually leave the gates open for a few days after their installation to encourage badgers to leave the sett – badgers typically leave the sett on their own accord due to the disturbance. The site will be continuously monitored, and gates are usually closed when all badgers have left the sett.
Mitigation and Compensation
Before a natural main sett can be closed, the construction of an artificial sett is often required to compensate for the loss. This can involve digging pits and creating chambers using wooden stakes and plastic pipes. The new artificial sett will then be covered with mesh, soil, and planted with tree and shrub species. Soil from the entrance of the natural sett should be moved and placed at the opening of the new artificial sett. Latrines can also be translocated from the original sett and placed around the new sett. Closure of the existing sett can be undertaken when there is evidence to show that the badgers are aware of the new sett. This evidence is usually obtained by setting up cameras around the new sett.
How Can Collington Winter Environmental Assist?
Collington Winter Environmental are an experienced team of Ecologists, providing highly professional badger surveys, sett closure, and mitigation service to developers on all types of projects. Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, holds Natural England Mitigation licences and has worked with protected species across the UK, undertaking field surveys and writing scientific reports for submission at planning.
Please get in touch using the details below for more information. We also provide ecological appraisal and assessment services.