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Ecology: December 2017: Aspect Ecology designs successful artificial Badger sett and supervises temporary sett closures


Aspect Ecology’s input has been key to a large-scale residential development project in Birmingham, with a particular need to consider the extensive use of the site by Badgers. Earlier in 2017 Aspect Ecology secured a mitigation licence from Natural England and created an above ground artificial Badger sett, in advance of the temporary closure and part removal of an existing Main and Annex Badger sett. The constraints of the wider site meant that the only suitable location for the new artificial Badger sett was within retained woodland habitats. This required additional consideration to ensure works were undertaken in a sensitive manner and that no trees would need to be removed. As such, an above ground sett structure was designed to maximise its value to badgers and provide a sustainable new feature within the site, whilst also ensuring the roots of nearby protected trees remained intact.


 


Occupation of the artificial sett by Badgers occurred instantly, which enabled the existing Main and Annex to be closed. However, the Badgers re-excavated their way back into the closed setts, at the edge of the exclusion area on several occasions during the closure period. To enable the partial removal of the existing setts where Badgers had continuously re-excavated accesses, Aspect Ecology successfully applied for an amendment to the Natural England licence to enable a live dig methodology to be utilised. This method of removal was supervised by our suitably experienced Ecologists and enabled the project to be delivered within the parameters of the licence conditions.


 


Works within the close proximity of the setts, including the partial removals of sett entrances have now been completed successfully. Over the next few weeks the retained areas of the setts (that it was not necessary to excavate for the works to proceed) will be reopened for Badgers to re-establish usage. Continuous monitoring of the artificial Badger sett has confirmed that it has readily been adopted by Badgers and remains in active use.”