Badger Surveys

EMEC Ecology carries out projects relating to badger surveys throughout England including all counties in the East Midlands. We have undertaken badger surveys and badger mitigation projects within Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Staffordshire in recent years.

EMEC Ecology works with a wide range of clients from developers working on large housing projects to home owners with badgers causing damage to their properties. Each survey will therefore be specific to a site and the costs will vary accordingly (further information on the survey methods used by EMEC Ecology are provided below). EMEC Ecology will be happy to provide a quotation for a badger survey that will be both efficient and cost effective to the site specifics.

If you require a quotation for a badger survey please send an email to us at including any site plans that you have available (or details and photographs of the site if applicable) with details of the site, along with your name and contact details. Should you wish to contact us at the office please call 0115 964 4828.

As well as badger surveys, EMEC Ecology staff are trained to undertake Badger Vaccinations (for bovine TB), and through our Land Management team we are able to carry out badger sett exclusions and the creation of artificial badger setts.

Badgers and their setts are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Under this Act it is illegal to destroy, damage or obstruct access to a sett or disturb a badger while it is using its sett. A sett is defined, under the Act, as any structure or place showing signs of current or recent occupation by a badger. Licences are required for works that will disturb badgers while in a badger sett.

Badger Survey Methodology

Badger surveys can be carried out throughout the year, although badger activity is reduced over the winter. There may be a need for consultation with local records centres and local badger groups. This will ensure that any records of badger in the area will be available which may help with a planning application.

The badger survey will follow the standard methodology, which involves recording the following signs of badgers: badger paths, footprints, dung pits, badger hairs, scratching trees, bedding and badger setts.

If a possible badger sett entrance is discovered during a badger survey, and it is unclear whether the hole is currently being used by badgers, monitoring of the site will take place. Sticks are placed at the entrance of holes such that they would be knocked over if a mammal passed through. Sticky tape is fixed to the sticks to 'catch' any hairs of mammals passing through the hole.

With infra-red video surveillance equipment, EMEC Ecology have the ability to observe badgers around their setts at night. This can provide more evidence of badger setts and give a better idea of population sizes. This technique can be used in conjunction with other survey techniques to help with a planning application.

A summary of the above information is also available as a PDf document Badger Survey - Information Sheet.

Badger Bait Marking Surveys

This technique involves determining the territories of badger social groups. The bait is a mixture of peanuts, golden syrup and indigestible plastic pellets (which is harmless to the badgers), and this is placed close to badger setts. The plastic pellets placed at each sett are a different colour that can then be identified through the badger's droppings. Badgers mark their territory with communal latrines (dung pits); therefore the coloured pellets recorded within dung pits can be used to form an understanding of the extent of a badger clan's territory. The information from bait marking can then be used in conjunction with recording other badger activity such as well worn paths and footprints.

Badger Exclusion and Badger Disturbance Licences

If setts are found during badger surveys, and the sett cannot be retained or avoided, a badger exclusion or disturbance licence may be required for development works to proceed. If this is the case a licence application to Natural England, including a detailed mitigation report will be required. Licences are usually only granted for the period between the 1st July to 30th November, so that the badger breeding season is avoided.

In some cases it may be necessary to exclude badgers from a sett completely, for example if heavy machinery needs to cross directly over a sett. However permanent sett exclusion should be considered a last resort, with all other avenues (avoidance measures or a temporary exclusion) considered first.

A disturbance or exclusion licence will only be granted by Natural England if sufficient consideration has been taken with regards to the welfare of the badgers. EMEC Ecology can assist in ensuring that appropriate mitigation is designed in the application.

A summary of the above information is also available as a PDf document Badger Sett Closure - Information Sheet.

Case Studies of Badger Survey and Mitigation Projects Completed by EMEC Ecology

Badger Sett Closure with One Way Badger Gates - Nottingham

EMEC Ecology undertook the permanent closure of an outlier badger sett in a residential area of Nottingham (following a badger survey of the site). This project was given a licence under Natural England, not for development but due to damage to property. In this particular case badgers were excavating a large sett within the rear garden of a residential property. Although used by only a few badgers on an occasional basis, the sett extended across approximately half the garden and resulted in entrance holes and collapsing tunnels occurring throughout the lawn. EMEC Ecology staff were able to close the sett using one-way badger gates and exclude badgers from the sett. The sett was then excavated and all tunnels back filled. The badgers were found to be residents from a nearby main sett and therefore the conservation of the local population was not affected. Furthermore, the badgers did not attempt to re-enter the sett during the monitoring period before excavation; indicating the sett was not of high importance to the local group.

Badger Survey

Badger Vaccinations

EMEC Ecology are qualified and experienced to undertake badger vaccinations to prevent the spread of bovine turberculosis. We have vaccinated badgers in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire as part of a scheme aiming to protect local wildlife and dairy and beef farms.

With the number of outbreaks of bovine tuberculosis increasing in local cattle herds, vaccination of badgers aims to prevent the disease becoming an epidemic in the local wildlife population. It is used as one of many techniques to control the spread of the disease in cattle.

EMEC Ecology work with charities and private landowners to deliver vaccination of badgers. If you require a quotation please send an email to us at including number of setts and any site plans that you have available (or details and photographs if applicable), along with your name and contact details. Should you wish to contact us at the office please call 0115 964 4828.

Our staff follow the necessary procedure to ensure all vaccination works abide to the highest level of biosecurity and animal welfare. We are skilled to undertake the full vaccination process as follows.

Badger Surveys

From our background of working with developers, residents, private landowners and charities, EMEC Ecology have undertaken badger surveys for a variety of clients throughout the nation. Our staff are trained in identifying setts, finding evidence of badger and monitoring of setts by motion sensor cameras and analysing activity through field evidence.


EMEC Ecology have undertaken the baiting process (deposition of peanuts) for a variety of scenarios such as bait marking to determine clan territory in regards to development impacts. Baiting for vaccination follows a similar process and staff are trained and experienced in knowing where and how to set bait, when to move bait and when it has been successfully taken. As such we are knowledgeable in badger behaviour and how to achieve the results required for successful vaccination.

Trap Setting

Our staff have undertaken the relevant training and have gained experience in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire of trap installation and setting. EMEC Ecology will always ensure animal welfare is at the top of the agenda and this is reflected in our delivery.


Our staff have undertaken the relevant training and delivered vaccination of setts with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust as part of the BEVS project on the Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire border.