Badger Survey

Badger Surveys

Triggers for a Badger Survey

The following items listed would likely trigger the need for a badger survey: (i) the proposed development site provides potentially suitable habitat (such as woodland, hedgerows and grassland) and/or (iii) the desk study data reveals there are previous badger records for the site and/or close vicinity.

Badger Survey and Mitigation

Many protected species surveys such as a badger survey are best carried out or can only be carried out at certain times of year (see our Ecological Surveys Timetable).

The optimal time for a badger survey is February to April when badger territories are most actively marked. However, it is possible to survey outside this time. A full badger survey comprises searching the site for field signs such as footprints, dung pits, latrines, snuffle holes, runs through vegetation, hairs caught on fences and hedgerows and setts. Setts are classified as well used, partly used or disused and whether they are a main, subsidiary, annex or outlying sett.

If badgers are found on the proposed development site Udall-Martin Associates can provide the following further services:

  • Badger survey report for the planning application.
  • Legal compliance advice (including licensing).
  • Licence applications including mitigation licences (disturbance and/or sett closures).
  • Design mitigation measures to avoid/minimise the chances of harming badgers on the site.
  • Design compensation and enhancement measures.
  • Site management and monitoring.


Mitigation Licence

Before works could go ahead which would cause damage to setts or disturbance to badgers, a licence would be needed from the statutory nature conservation agency. The licence would allow otherwise illegal activities to be permitted.

Licence applications are generally determined within 15-30 working days. Statutory agencies will normally only issue licences for work to be carried out between the 1st July and 30th November, to avoid the badger breeding season, although exceptions may be possible if a sound justification can be made. It is not illegal and therefore a licence is not required, to carry out activities in the vicinity of a sett if no badger is disturbed and the sett is not damaged or obstructed.

Our Experience

Udall-Martin Associates is a specialist ecological consultancy. Our ecology team has the skills and experience in carrying out badger surveys following standard methodologies and producing badger survey reports to accompany planning applications and documents for badger disturbance/sett closure licences. We also design and implement badger mitigation and compensation measures on site to satisfy both planning authorities and statutory nature conservation organisations.

Case Studies

We have carried out numerous badger surveys and carried out mitigation works for a wide variety of clients and projects including for road construction in Nottinghamshire, school projects in Derbyshire, residential developments in Bedfordshire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire and a supermarket development in Nottinghamshire. Examples of our previous projects can be found on our Projects Page.

Badger Legislation                                           

Badger (Meles meles) is a widespread and generally common species. It is legally protected under The Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which is based primarily on the need to protect badgers from baiting/deliberate harm or injury. Under this legislation it is illegal to: (i) wilfully kill, injure, take, possess or cruelly ill-treat a badger, or attempt to do so; (ii) possess any dead badger or any part of, or anything derived from, a dead badger and (iii) intentionally or recklessly interfere with a sett by disturbing badgers whilst they are occupying a sett, damaging or destroying a sett, causing a dog to enter a sett, or obstructing access to it.

A badger sett is defined in the legislation as “any structure or place, which displays signs indicating current use by a badger”. Natural England provide an advice note detailing ‘Guidance on ‘Current Use’ in the definition of a Badger Sett’.

Before works could go ahead which would cause damage to setts or disturbance to badgers, a licence would be needed from the statutory nature conservation agency. The licence would allow otherwise illegal activities to be permitted.

Implications for Development

The implications for proposed development works are that any activities should not result in the death or injury of badgers or damage or obstruction of badger setts should they occur on site or in the close vicinity. Measures to provide for badger individual protection will need to be put in place if they are found to be present.

The presence of a protected species such as badger on a proposed development site can be a major constraint to a project as certain activities may require licensing. To avoid possible costly delays to the development works programme and alterations to design plans we recommend protected species surveys such as badger surveys are carried out at the earliest opportunity.


Contact Us

If you suspect there are badgers present within your proposed development site and/or the type of development activities to be carried out would suggest that adverse impacts to badgers are possible, you will need to contact an ecological consultancy to provide specialist advice.

One of our team of qualified and experienced ecologists would attend your development site and conduct a badger survey.

Udall-Martin Associates work throughout the UK and extensively in the West Midlands (Birmingham, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire), East Midlands (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland), South West (Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset and Devon), South East (Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire) and throughout Wales.


Discuss your project with us by calling 01684 540695 and we will provide specialist advice and quotations. We are offer a quality service at competitive rates.