Protecting Our Wildlife
Badgers are protected in law under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The act makes it an offence to damage or obstruct a badger sett which shows signs of current use by badgers, or to disturb a badger in residence.
You won’t need a licence if you are felling small trees and shrubs that are near a sett and in most cases you should be able to avoid harming badgers and damaging or blocking access to their setts.
If interfering with a sett can’t be avoided, to comply with the law, you must apply for a licence from Natural England. There are a number of supporting surveys to be carried out and evidence documents that need to be submitted with a licence everything possible has been done to avoid affecting the badgers.
This licence allows you to interfere with badger setts while conducting forestry operations.
The operations covered by this licence are:
- felling, snedding and converting trees with hand-held chainsaws or purpose-built
- timber harvesters
- extracting timber with tractors and winches or purpose-built extraction
- machinery such as skidders or forwarders
- clearing brash with a 3600 tracked excavator fitted with a rake
- erecting forest or stock fencing
- managing forest rides with tractor-mounted flails, mowers and mulchers
- maintaining forest roads with tracked mini diggers and vibrating rollers
- maintaining drainage channels with tracked mini diggers
- removing dangerous trees
These operations may be carried out within 20 metres of any sett. Restrictions on when they can be carried out are set out in the licence but usually cover the breeding season which lasts from December to June.
If you need to disturb a badger sett during the first half of the year, whilst the badgers are present and breeding, you must have an approved contractor to apply for the licence and carry out the work.