Badgers and their setts are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Our ecologists have experience in planning surveys, developing and undertaking mitigation for badgers on both large and small sites that ensure our clients are able to progress with their planning applications and developments.

You can have a badger survey undertaken at any time of the year however during winter months evidence of badger activity may be missed by periods of badger inactivity.



Types of Badger Surveys

Presence / Absence badger surveys

The first stage of a survey for badgers is to establishing whether badgers are actually present or absent from a surveys area.

A walkover survey and habitat assessment is undertaken to identify field signs of badger activity including:

  • Setts, Badgers may use a number of setts which can be classed as main, annex, subsidiary or outlier setts. The status of a sett is determined by the number of holes and level of activity recorded. Indicators of regular use include a number of dung pits, fresh spoil mounds and bedding outside hole entrances

  • lots of soil, mud and imprinted paths outside the setts

  • bedding/hay in mounds (perhaps a mixture of old and new bedding materials)

  • badger hairs in mounds of soil or old bedding material

  • latrines into which Badgers defecate (holes in the ground or scrapes in soil)

  • distinctive hairs - usually with a white root, black band, white tip (often found on fences and other rough wood)

  • Tracks and path through vegetation lining sets and foraging grounds.

The baseline survey will need to establish the total extent to which the badgers are in and using a particular area; as it will also need to establish setts, feeding and foraging areas.

Bait Marking badger Surveys

Bait marking is used to determine the territorial area of badger clans. Bait is left close to each badger sett which contains indigestible plastic pellets (harmless to badgers), each given a unique colour that can be identified within their dung. As badgers mark their territory with communal latrines (dung pits), the area can be re-surveyed a few days later and the locations of each latrine with coloured pellets recorded. These locations can then be mapped and to give a visual indication of the extent of a clan's territory.

Sett Monitoring badger surveys

Badger setts or potential setts can also be monitored using Camera traps which are positioned to observe the sett and left for several nights. Cameras are used to identify animals entering or exiting the sett. Alongside this, hair traps (sticks with adhesive tape attached) can be placed within the hole so that any mammal entering / exiting the hole will dislodge the sticks and leave a hair sample.









Ellendale Environmental ecologists are experienced in designing mitigation and supervising construction sites to ensure works can continue

Mitigation / licensing

Planning authorities are required to consider the effect of any development on badgers as part of any planning application. If it is impossible to avoid general disturbance to badgers, or the destruction of their setts and habitat, then appropriate mitigation and compensation measures should be implemented under the auspices of an EPS licence.

Where a badger sett is found during a survey, a badger exclusion or disturbance licence may be required for development works to proceed.

Mitigation can include buffer zones to habitat creation.


Why Choose Ellendale Environmental For Badger Surveys?

Your development will be in safe hands with our experts at Ellendale Environmental who will work alongside you to ensure that your development is compliant with the law which will minimise disruption to your project. We are able to ensure this through extensive searches of the surrounding area being conducted for the presence of badgers. If badgers are present on the site we work collectively to ensure the development process is not hindered whilst protecting the species through implementing appropriate mitigation and compensation measures

Ellendale Environmental has undertaken surveys for badgers throughout the UK and has experience in delivering survey for our clients to support their projects. We have experience of mitigation and licensing for projects including creation of habitat such as artificial setts, monitoring and EPS licensing



Badgers & Badger Legislation - Find Out More

The European badger Meles meles is one of the UK's most recognised and popular mammals. Badgers are members of the mustelid family (which includes the martens, otters, polecats and ferrets) and its range extends from Britain, across Europe and to the Middle East.

Badgers are short, stout, powerful animals up to 1m long that live in underground 'setts' that can extend well over 50 metres long. Badgers are omnivores eating a range of insects and fruits throughout the seasons.

Legislation protecting Badgers

Badgers and their setts are protected Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. In England and Wales it is an offence to:

  • Willfully kill, injure or take a badger (or attempt to do so).

  • Cruelly ill-treat a badger.

  • Dig for a badger.

  • Intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy a badger sett, or obstruct access to it.

  • Cause a dog to enter a badger sett.

  • Disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett.

In Scotland badgers and their setts are comprehensively protected by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992  (as amended by the WANE Act 2011). It is an offence to:

  • willfully kill, injure, take or attempt to kill a badger;

  • possess a dead badger or any part of a dead badger;

  • cruelly ill-treat a badger;

  • use badger tongs in the course of killing, taking or attempting to kill a badger;

  • dig for a badger;

  • possess, sell or offer for sale any live badger;

  • mark, tag or ring a badger.

It is also a crime to interfere with a badger sett by intentionally or recklessly causing or allowing:

  • damage to a sett or any part of it;

  • destruction of it;

  • sett access to be obstructed, or any entrance of it;

  • a dog to enter it;

  • Disturbance to a badger when it is occupying it.

A person attempting to commit an offence under the Act is guilty of that offence. 

Note:  A badger sett is defined in law as any structure or place which displays signs of current use by a badger.

Licences to undertake some actions can be issued if it is justified, for example where a badger sett is found on a proposed site for a development. A licence allowing the badgers to be carefully excluded, making them move elsewhere in their territory can be obtained in some circumstances.