Safety Bulletin November 2022

In the News Elsewhere

In the news recently have been two cases of deliberate damage to Badger Setts resulting in the culprits being fined. It is vital that we know where badger setts are on and around our work sites and take appropriate measures to protect them.

Tilhill employ three Ecologists and have a number of Ecological Technical Leads around the country.

Advice is never far away, if in doubt, reach out.

Case 1

A 32-year-old Fife farmer has been fined £2,000 after deliberately damaging a badger sett. The farmer was sentenced after being found guilty of two breaches of the Protection of Badgers Act.
The court heard that the farmer had levelled part of a sett on the perimeter of a field with an excavator.
They then placed boulders at the entrance to obstruct access to the sett. They did this without any regard to the consequences of their actions. Their actions were uncovered when a walker alerted a local environmentalist to the damage. They attended with a specialist police wildlife officer and managed to move one of the boulders from the entrance.

It is understood that the badgers survived.

Case 2

A director of a house building company was sentenced and fined more than £9000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Protection of Badgers Act.

The court heard the house builders bought the site in December 2019. With the sale came an information pack containing reports on the site including a Badger Protection Plan.

The reports showed that the site had an active social clan of badgers residing in the area with a variety of badger sett types including a main sett, annex sett and a variety of outlier setts, foraging activity and well-worn badger paths. The protection plan stated that a 30-metre exclusion zone had been created to protect the badger setts from all construction works. The builder was aware of this when they instructed a digger driver to dig and clear land to construct a road. None of the measures outlined in the Badger Protection Plan were put into practice.

Various members of the public made repeated calls to the company prior to the work starting to voice their concerns about setts being near where work was beginning. One resident even advised them and the digger driver of the presence of badgers immediately before the work commenced that day. An ecologist concluded that two thirds of the main set and the annex sett had been excavated and removed. The impact of disturbing badgers in this scenario is the dispersal of a family group. They are then put under pressure to find new territory and put into territorial conflict with other badger clans along with the immediate danger should any be present when the sett is damaged. This is because there is a social clan in this area of the NE of Scotland approximately every 750m.