Springing Back to Life – badgers

It is illegal to carry out any forestry work close to a badger sett without an appropriate Licence

The inexorable march of time continues and brings us back round to spring and the time of year where things begin to come back to life.

Days becoming longer is a sure indicator of the time of year. Our weather continues to be challenging this winter and may well not be done with us just yet. As life remerges from winter we must ensure we are prepared, make the appropriate plans and take the appropriate actions. The starting point when planning works will be hazards and  constraints maps, landowner information, local knowledge and walk throughs when completing an Ecological Site Check Record (SF/146).


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 the hole. Badger holes tend to be the shape of a capital ‘D’, with the flat side down­ wards, and are at least 20­30 cms wide.
  • There may be signs of freshly excavated material at the entrance or piles ofleaves, 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 other wire fences, or under fences.