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Badger Surveys, Licensing and Artificial Badger Sett Construction

ECOSA has been providing ongoing ecological survey, assessment and mitigation solution services to a consortium of developers and their planning consultants for a large-scale urban extension project within Hampshire. As part of the survey works, badger setts were identified on site, including a single main sett which needed to be closed in order to facilitate the construction of a new road. ECOSA carried out the mitigation and compensation works required to relocate badgers safely from the site to a new artificial sett constructed within the territory of the closed sett. Subsequent monitoring indicates that the badgers have been using replacement sett.

Client: Vistry Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Crest Nicholson

Objective:Construction of a replacement badger sett and closure of a main sett.

A detailed badger survey undertaken at the 207 hectare site revealed at least four main badger setts and a number of annex, subsidiary, outlier and disused setts. The scheme was designed to avoid impacts on existing setts where possible and compensate for impacts where these were unavoidable. The final design of the scheme resulted in the need for closure of a single main sett, which would be compensated by the construction of a replacement sett.

ECOSA undertook a badger bait marking survey to ascertain the territory of the main sett to identify a suitable location for the replacement sett. Following the bait marking three potential areas were identified and the most appropriate chosen in consultation with the project landscape architects in relation to the GI Strategy.

Following its construction, the artificial sett was subject to monitoring visits and baiting in order to encourage badger to identify and occupy the newly created artificial sett. The monitoring identified usage of the new artificial sett, confirming that badgers had begun using the sett.

A Natural England badger licence was successfully obtained for the sett closure and one-way gates installed on the main sett. Following 21 days monitoring to confirm absence of badger from this sett, it was subsequently closed. It was concluded that the badgers had been successfully excluded and relocated to the artificial sett.

ECOSA successfully resolved protected species issues for the client at the site whilst ensuring legal obligations were met. ECOSA continue to provide ongoing ecological advice and support to consortium on a variety of other ecological matters including bats, hazel dormouse and great crested newt.