Badger Surveys

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If you’re in the process of initiating a development project in the UK, badgers are heavily protected by law, forbidding any development in an area with active badger setts that may be damaged. This is where Indigo Surveys comes in, with our licensed ecologists able to carry out this type of survey on your behalf.

What is a badger survey?

A badger survey is a process that UK developers must go through before starting any project or development on a piece of land. The goal is to identify whether there are badgers living in the area.

The majority of badger surveys consist of two phases. The first is a walkover survey looking for signs that there are badgers in the area. This is followed by another survey to check if there are active badger setts on site.

Such surveys are conducted at times of the year when badgers are most active and are least likely to be hidden by thick vegetation.

Here are some examples of the evidence that badger surveys aim to unearth.

  • Footprints and trails.
  • Loose badger fur caught on brambles and fences.
  • Trees close to the sett with scratch marks. 
  • Droppings and latrines.
  • Setts with defined paths and spoil heaps.
  • Snuffle holes and other signs of feeding

Professional surveyors are also adept at distinguishing between rabbit warrens and badger setts. The main differences are the shape of the den’s entrance and the width as you go further inside it.

What is the best time for a badger survey?

You can conduct badger surveys at any time during the year. However, they’re more effective around autumn, winter, and the initial stages of spring. In turn, people typically conduct badger surveys between February and April. September to November is also suitable.

During these times, vegetation tends not to be thick, making it easier for surveyors to find setts and other indicators of badger activity in the area.

Why is a badger survey required?

While badgers aren’t endangered, they’re one of the most heavily protected species in the UK by law. As a result, damaging a badger colony is severely punishable by the authorities.

Any development that will lead to damaging, destroying, or even disturbing a badger sett requires a mitigation license from the authorities before it can proceed. 

Conducting a badger survey lets you know whether you’ll need a license from the jump, saving you a lot of future trouble.

Mitigation licenses in such cases are acquired from Natural England. They allow development to proceed in badger-inhabited areas between mid-summer and autumn. The logic behind this timeframe is that it’s the time of year when badgers will be least affected by the disturbance.

At Indigo Surveys, we have specialists you can consult regarding your mitigation licensing options. We can also help you build artificial setts to replace the ones that’ll be destroyed when the development commences. 

How do we assist our clients regarding badger surveys?

Indigo Surveys can provide all the help you need in terms of badger surveys. We’re regularly consulted by architects, planning consultants, engineers, developers, project managers, and other industry professionals.

We provide them with the most practical, cost-effective, and innovative mitigation solutions possible given their situation.

Here are some more details on how Indigo Surveys can help you:

Habitat Surveying

As previously mentioned, disturbing a site with active badger setts without having a mitigation plan in place is considered a crime. Our badger surveys allow you to identify the paperwork and permits required before you start your project.

By doing so, we assist you in avoiding untimely delays and their associated costs once you’ve started your project.

Our surveying experts will use their findings to tell you what you need to do to continue with your work while staying within the confines of the law.

Mitigation and Site Management

Let’s assume that you’ve concluded your badger survey and the verdict is that there are active setts on your development site.

In such cases, you need qualified professionals to advise you on the best mitigation plan to pursue. Getting quality advice at this stage ensures that you’ll smoothly navigate the legal hurdles involved.

There are many mitigation strategies, all with the same goal of minimising the impact of a project on the badgers in the surrounding area. 

Your main mitigation options are typically habitat creation or translocation, or applying for a Natural England license to continue operating.

Our team can assist you in pursuing the mitigation strategy that’s best for you.

Planning Developments

When applying for a permit to initiate a project in an area where badger setts will be affected, the relevant surveying data will be required as part of the application documents.

Indigo Surveys ensures you have all the required information ready. Not only that, but we also have extensive experience that enables us to predict all the questions that will be asked during your application process and make sure you have the answers.

Being prepared for anything that may come your way in terms of badger protection laws allows you to cut costs and reduce delays in the long haul.

Giving Indigo Surveys a call and using our services will allow you to do just that.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a badger survey take?

A badger survey is a long process that doesn’t happen overnight. It can take surveyors up to 3 weeks, sometimes more, to gauge the badger presence in the area.

Why are badgers protected by law?

As mentioned above, badgers aren’t an endangered species. So, why are they so heavily protected by the law?

The Protection of Badgers Act was initiated in 1992 due to the high level of persecution that these animals face. The National Federation of Badger Groups, currently Badger Trust, played a key role in passing this legislation.

Which area of the UK has the most badgers?

If you’re carrying out a badger survey in southern England, you’re more likely to find active badger setts on-site than in any other area of the country. This statement is especially true if your project involves woodland or open country areas. 

Let Indigo Surveys Assist You

Due to the extreme levels of persecution badgers have been subjected to, they’re now heavily protected by the law. As a result, those looking to carry out projects in areas that may contain badgers need to conduct a badger survey first.

If active badger setts are found during the survey, the developer needs a license to operate from Natural England. They’ll also need to devise a mitigation strategy to limit the effect their operation will have on the badgers in the area.

Indigo Surveys can assist you in conducting badger surveys and choosing the right mitigation strategy if there are badgers on the development site. Having experienced consultants on your side can speed up the process. It can also save you a lot of time and money.

Contact us to get your quote today!