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Badgers and the law

Badgers and their setts are protected in Britain by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 external site (as amended).

A badger sett is defined in the Act as 'any structure or place which displays signs indicating current use by a badger'. This can include culverts, pipes and holes under sheds, piles of boulders, old mines and quarries etc. See What is a badger sett?  PDF document   for more information.

Licences for development

A licence must be obtained from Scottish Natural Heritage for any work that may cause disturbance to a badger or involves the damage or destruction of a sett. What constitutes disturbance depends on the nature of the activity proposed: as a rule a licence is normally required for any works within 30 metres of a badger sett, but this distance may increase for more disruptive activities such as blasting or pile-driving. Licences are generally, but not exclusively, issued to badger experts, whose role is to provide on-site advice and, where necessary, supervise all the licensed work.

Licences are not normally issued during the breeding season, which is between 30th November and 1st July, and cannot be issued retrospectively. Activities that necessarily involve disturbance should therefore be programmed to take place outwith this period. Licences are usually only issued after full planning permission has been granted.

Scottish Natural Heritage cannot licence translocation of badgers (i.e. live trapping and moving badgers to an entirely new location away from the existing territory) for the purpose of development.

Last updated on Tuesday 9th June 2015 at 08:58 AM. Click here to comment on this page