Contact Us

How to resolve conflicts between badgers and development schemes

Published on October 06, 2020

Today (6 October) is National Badger Day! Celebrate by hearing from Richard (Dez) Delahay, a director of RSK Biocensus and a professor of wildlife biology at the University of Exeter, who provides a fascinating insight into these interesting critters and how we can resolve conflicts between badgers and development schemes.

With their distinctive black-and-white appearance, badgers in the UK are instantly recognisable and relatively abundant, although not many people have seen one. This is no surprise, as badgers are mostly nocturnal and spend most of the day in their underground setts. These dwellings can range in size from a single hole to a complex labyrinth of underground chambers and tunnels. Badgers are incredible architects and prodigious engineers, designing and maintaining their setts to be cosy and well ventilated but avoiding drafts and flooding!

Setts are usually located under cover, for example, in hedgerows or woodland, but you can also find them out in the open in the middle of fields. They also like to dig under human structures, which can bring them into conflict with people. In these situations, and when their setts are present on land destined for development, the right expertise is required to find effective solutions that work for badgers and people. Enter RSK Biocensus, which helps a range of clients to manage all manner of badger-related issues.

In RSK’s First Thursday Club webinar that aired on 3 September, Dez drew on his many years of experience studying badgers, managing them and helping a range of clients to deal with their presence on development sites. Dez began with an introduction to badger ecology and behaviour, including their diet, social organisation and the different types of setts they build. He then moved on to discuss the various survey techniques that RSK Biocensus uses to gain an understanding of where they are and what they are doing. These include searching for field signs, bait marking, a method for mapping badger group territories and identifying connections between setts, and camera surveillance.

“If a client finds what looks like a badger sett on-site, the best thing to do is contact us immediately so that we can conduct the surveys necessary to collect as much contextual information as possible,” says Dez. “This will inform whether the developer may be able to work around the badgers or if any setts need to be closed and where those excluded badgers might go.”

He continued, “Any sett exclusions will need to be conducted under licence with a clear plan for providing alternative residence for the animals, whether that is in other naturally occurring setts or in a bespoke artificial sett constructed within easy reach. But there are seasonal constraints on when this can be done and badgers may need time to move to their new home, so it is important to plan ahead.”

Dez’s five golden rules for dealing with badgers on development sites are

  1. Information is power: Get as much contextual survey information as possible.
  2. Ask, “is there another way?” Can you accommodate the existing badger sett in the scheme? This will often be easier and cheaper than the alternative.
  3. Never underestimate badgers’ stubbornness and perseverance! Cover all the bases!
  4. Timing is everything: Give yourself enough time and be aware of the seasonal constraints.
  5. Get advice early on.

You can watch Dez’s webinar in full below.

RSK Biocensus can conduct surveys and provide mitigation, compensation and licensing advice for badgers on development sites. For more information, please contact Richard (Dez) Delahay.

See more insights


Richard Delahay

Director, RSK Biocensus

More from this author

Richard is a director of RSK Biocensus and a professor of wildlife biology at the University of Exeter. He has had many years of experience studying badgers and enabling a range of clients to deal with their presence on development sites. He can provide some background on these interesting creatures and describe how we resolve conflicts between badgers and development schemes.

Contact this author

👏 Grace Kassimoto is the only acoustic specialist from and working in East Africa.

💚 In our latest #ADayInTheLife, she discusses how she is leading the way for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry and what she enjoys most about her role.

Read her story in our bio!

#Acoustics #Environment #WomenInStem #Engineering #Leadership #Africa

📢 We are proud to sponsor the #GreenEnergyAwards 2022, an event organized by Scottish Renewables

🏆 This ceremony aims to recognise the inspirational organisations, people and projects going above and beyond to make a real difference to the health, wealth, and wellbeing of Scotland

We can't wait to see you there!

📅 1st December 2022
📍 Edinburgh

#RenewableEnergy #Renewables #Scotland #Energy #GreenEnergy #Awards

📸 #selfiesonsite 🤳

Tom Peart, Principal Surveyor at @centara_ltd, out on-site in Rotherham.

Want to join our team? View our latest opportunities 👉

#RSKgroup #behindthescenes #meettheteam #RSKfamily #RSKonsite #culture #construction

🐟 Concern was recently raised in France with regards to the health of marine ecosystems.

📌Join RSK France's webinar, in collaboration with law firm Franklin and TechWorks Marine, to discuss the sustainable support of renewable energy in the marine environment.

Register now in our bio!

#RenewableEnergy #Environment #Marine #Nature #Compliance #Energy #GreenEnergy

📢 November is a month dedicated to men’s health.

🌍 On November 19th, we celebrated #InternationalMensDay, a global holiday that highlights the positive value men bring to the world.

🤝 This year, men around RSK are taking part in #Movember, an initiative that involves growing a moustache during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

💚 We want to thank Greg Cole, James May, Jiano Pulickal, Matthew Bayliff, Maxwell Robinson, Sam Oakley, Tom Llewellyn, Tom Semmens and Yusuf Aoulad-Ali for participating in this great initiative!

#Wellbeing #MensHealth #MentalHealth #WorkCulture #Culture

😮 “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Building with Nature can help clients understand how they can utilise best-practice green infrastructure solutions to deliver developments that are better for both people and nature.”

👏 In the November edition of our #employeespotlight, we spoke with Joanne Mayneord, Senior Landscape Architect at @stephensonhalliday, who has recently been certified by Building with Nature as an Approved Assessor.

Read more in our bio!

#Environment #Nature #Sustainability #Landscape #Planning #Environmental