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Badgers are protected under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which was established to guard them from persecution. It is an offence to:

  • wilfully kill, injure, take, possess or cruelly ill-treat a badger or to attempt to do so;
  • intentionally or recklessly interfere with a sett

This includes disturbing badgers whilst they are occupying a sett, damaging or destroying a sett or obstructing access to a sett.A sett is defined as ‘any structure or place which displays signs indicating current use by a badger,’ therefore setts are only protected as long as there are signs of current occupation. Any works resulting in ground penetration, vibration or noise near a sett entrance have the potential to disturb badgers. If disturbance is probable then a licence from Natural England may be required before any works can commence.

Timing: surveys can be undertaken all year round, but setts should be avoided between December and June, as the badgers may be breeding or raising young during this time.

Examples when one could be needed may include: The levels of disturbance that may require a licence are generally accepted as the following:

  • use of heavy machinery within 30 metres of an entrance to an active sett
  • use of light machinery within 20 metres of an entrance to an active sett
  • use of hand tools (e.g. digging, scrub clearance) within 10 metres of the entrance to an active sett

Our ecologists can survey and produce suitable reports to use with your planning application that highlights any potential impact on badgers.


Client: Private

Our ecology team undertook a series of surveys as part of a planning application for a possible new allotment site. Firstly, records of badger activity from the site and surrounding 1km area were collated.  Following this our ecology team searched the entire site for signs of badger activity, including sett entrances, latrine pits, foraging holes, footprints, pathways through vegetation and badger hairs caught on fencing or vegetation. Recommendations were then drawn up to ensure badger setts were protected within the above guidelines.