Badger Surveys

As specialist ecologists, we regularly carry out professional badger surveys. Need one for your land development project? Let us guide you through the process with our expertise. 

These iconic mammals are common and widespread in Britain but they and their active setts are strictly protected by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992

If you are changing the way your land is to be used, or are applying for planning permission, you’ll need to know whether and how badgers are using your site. If they are, you’ll have to demonstrate impact mitigation, how they’ll be protected, and how you’ll stay within the rules. You’ll need to start with a badger survey and we’re here to help.

Call us on 01886 888445 or email

Ask for a free badger survey quote
  • Keenly priced badger surveying
  • Over three decades of experience with badgers and badger surveys
  • Specialist scientists applying the latest expertise
Badger identified in Extended Phase 1 survey

When to undertake badger survey?

Ideally, badger surveys are completed between February and September, but the rest of the year is not necessarily excluded. Badgers are nocturnal and shy, so badger surveys are best when signs of their activity are most abundant and easier to find. During the autumn, fallen leaves can make it harder to detect field evidence, but in winter snow on the ground can reveal tracks easily.  

Our initial survey will include an experienced ecologist examining your land and the surrounding area thoroughly to detect badger activity. They will check for active setts, of course, but also for paw prints, shed hair, their characteristic paths, scratching posts, feeding signs, bedding collection and latrines.


What does a badger sett look like?

Badger setts frequently most visible features are the paths leading to their set entrances. A network of broad badger paths often leads to badger sett holes which can vary between 20-30cm in diameter, wider than they are tall and shaped like a 'D' on its side. Badgers may sometimes leave fresh bedding outside holes, especially in winter, and old bedding can be seen in spoil heaps.

In most instances, just one survey is enough to determine any badger presence and its extent, and we can combine it with a baseline survey (Preliminary Ecological Appraisal) of your site.


What do you do if you find a badger sett?

On discovery of any sett, our ecologist will determine their activity and type: main sett, outlier or subsidiary, for instance. If your plans should require the closure of a sett, or any interference with it or to disturb badgers, a prior licence will be required. A formal licence application will have to be made, which we can do for you. If significant sett closure is needed, an artificial sett may have to be constructed which we can undertake (see below).

Can badger setts be moved?

When badger setts must be closed, as happens when infrastructure projects and construction cannot avoid them, a licensed mitigation programme involving a replacement artificial sett and other protection at a suitable new location nearby is a frequent requirement.

When can badger setts be closed?

For your project timing, remember that licences from the authorities such as Natural England are generally only issued for work between July and November. Licence submissions are complex and will require further investigation and field work which may involve territory mapping, camera traps, nocturnal watching and infra-red sensing.

How we can help

Betts Ecology will obtain the necessary licence for you and do all the fieldwork, which includes sett closure, creation of movement corridors, and construction of the replacement. We will resettle the badgers, ensure protection from floodlights or any future interference and undertake the follow-up monitoring. 

We have helped many clients with situations involving badgers. We understand what the authorities require and we can guide you through all the steps to keep your project and planning application moving forward. To give you a little more background, we have provided some more general information below.

Please contact us for a free quote  to discuss your badger survey and sett investigation requirements. Whatever questions you have, we’ll have answered them before. Call 01886 888445 or email

Contact us for a free quote