Safety & Assurance Bulletin March 2023


Badgers are a protected species. Both the animals and their setts are protected by law.

It is illegal to carry out any forestry work close to a badger sett without taking steps to positively avoid damage and without an appropriate Licence.

It is a criminal offence to:

  • Kill, injure or take a badger.
  • Disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett.
  • Interfere with a badger sett by damaging or destroying it.
  • Obstruct the access to, or any entrance of a badger sett.

It is no excuse in law to be unaware of the presence of badgers. Look out for:

  • Badger Setts – check the shape of thehole. Badger holes tend to be the shape of a capital ‘D’, with the flat side downwards, and are at least 20-30 cms wide.
  • There may be signs of freshly excavated material at the entrance or piles of leaves, dry grass, straw or bracken, which the badgers take inside to use as bedding. There may be a large spoil heap outside the main sett. This may contain old bedding, bits of fur, and even small bones.
  • Clear footprints will show a prominent central pad, and either four or five toes, with good claw marks.
  • Badger hair on barbed wire and otherwire fences, or under fences.


Undertake reasonable checks for badgers on site. Immediately  STOP  work and inform your manager if you  see a badger on your site, discover a badger sett or see other evidence.


Use any machinery or fell trees within 20 metres of a sett. Halt operations until advice has been sought.