Current legislation (The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Protection of Badgers Act 1992) make it all too easy to fall foul of the law where badgers are concerned if proper and timely advice is not taken.
From farmers and foresters to developers and ecological consultancies at each stage of your project we can help you plan, offer advice on and deliver the most efficient and cost effective solutions to resolve potential conflicts that can arise through the presence of badgers on your land. Further specific advice relating to badgers and development can be found here Badgers: surveys and mitigation for development project.
Our badger services
In 2010 EcoCon were the first company in the UK to offer this service commercially.
Today it’s still one of our businesses core services and one that we offer and deliver for our clients across the UK.Working closely with vets, farmers and landowners we recognize the misery that this disease can cause to all those affected by it.
EcoCon offers badger vaccination services (Using injectable badger BCG) to the agricultural and conservation sectors, but our services are available to anyone who has an interest in controlling the spread of Bovine tuberculosis. This interest may be an economic one, a welfare issue or a combination of them both. Our clients include individuals, groups of farmers or landowners or organisations all of whom wish to achieve the goal of enhanced protection for their livestock and wildlife through the lowering of the disease burden on their land.
The vaccination programmes that we deliver can be used as one of a raft of measures to lower the disease burden on land to help combat the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle and badgers. We offer a one stop shop that will deliver a programme from initial survey to vaccine delivery. The vaccination programmes that we offer our clients are tailor made to meet our client’s requirements and take into consideration the constraints of timing and budget.
All the work we carry out is to the highest professional standards and is highly regulated and regularly audited by government agencies, with due regard at all times for welfare, efficiency and value.
The work involved in delivering a vaccination programme will be carried out by fully trained, certified and licensed vaccinators with a wealth of experience in the field. Everything we do is informed by best practice and as a company we strive for continuous improvement in all that we do.
As well as operating across England we are now very active in delivering vaccination programmes in Wales, where we are currently involved in delivering programmes which are partly funded by the Welsh government.
If you would like to read more about how badger vaccination works click on the link here.
If you would like to learn more about how we could deliver a badger vaccination programme for you or to find out if you could be eligible for grant funding for this work, why not contact us. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Field signs and their interpretation play a vital role in the survey process
Preliminary and if necessary extended badger surveys are often a pre-requisite of the planning consent process and gaining licences for other potentially disrupting actions such as certain forestry, drainage and agricultural practices. EcoCon’s expertise in this field is second to none and as such we are regularly called upon to carry out surveys for other consultancies and large organisations. Regularly carrying out surveys on scales ranging from individual property’s to more than 50 km2.Our expertise in this area allows us to quickly and accurately record and appraise the presence / absence and level of badgers inhabiting or using a piece of land.
As well as using our expertise in locating and disseminating traditional field signs, we also make use of state of the art infra-red motion cameras to give the most accurate picture of site usage by badger populations.
All of which contributes vital information when formulating mitigation strategies as part of site development planning applications or management plans.
It is sometimes necessary to gain insight into the territorial boundaries of one or more badger social groups, for reasons such as habitat destruction, habitat provision, mitigation planning and relocation.
Although assumptions can be made from interpreting field signs, where more concrete or detailed evidence is required we recommend a bait marking survey is carried out.
This process involves coloured plastic beads being incorporated into a suitable palatable bait mixture before being fed harmlessly to badgers for a period of time. A survey of badger latrines can then be carried out and the returns from the beads, recorded and mapped to give accurate spatial data. These surveys are usually carried out in the early spring when badgers are active and the ground cover is still low.
Badger sett closures
Sometimes it is necessary for badger setts to be either reduced in size or completely closed.
The reasons for this course of action are many and varied, but may include in some circumstances for development, preservation of ancient monuments, drainage, prevention of undermining, safety for agricultural and forestry practices and the prevention of disease.
Strict licencing procedures govern such actions and subject to their issue EcoCon can deliver these offering an effective and efficient nationwide service, from site clearance, sett exclusion, to supervised destruction and site restoration. This includes the carrying out under licence of supervised live digging on the rare occasions when circumstances demand it.
Cage trapping of badgers
EcoCon are specialists in the humane trapping of badgers under licence.
EcoCon offer an unsurpassed level of expertise in the humane live capture of badgers. We have many years of experience in this field. There can be no substitute for sound, reliable field based knowledge and experience and as such, our services are regularly called upon for various purposes by a wide selection of companies and organisations in both the private and public sectors. Subject to the appropriate licensing being granted we can offer this service for research, disease control and relocation purposes.
In recent years we have experienced an increase in demand from ecology consultancies for trapping provision as a method of facilitating sett closures. This has proven invaluable, especially late in the season where populations are found to be repeatedly breaching exclusion efforts and thus re-setting the clock on the requisite 21 day sett empty proviso of destruction licences. By utilising this method and releasing the trapped badgers back into their new artificial or previously identified alternative sett, destruction of the old one can be carried out under “Live dig conditions”
This course of action has the potential to offer significant time and economic savings by avoiding postponement which depending on the time of year could run into the following summer when the exclusion process would have to be repeated.
Artificial sett construction
In some cases, particularly after the closure of “Main” setts, or where there is a lack of alternative options for a social group (which will be established through initial surveys).
Some mitigation strategies may involve the creation of an “artificial sett or setts” to offer badger populations alternative accommodation, when planned actions are likely to have a deleterious effect on the badger populations present sett or setts. This is often a pre-requisite of licences or planning being granted.
If this is the case, EcoCon offer their clients a complete service of proven badger sett construction, at realistic and competitive prices. We will be happy to discuss the needs of the client and balance these with those of the badger population before suggesting appropriate courses of action tailored to meet the needs of both.
Potential users of this service should be mindful of the need for forward planning (As in all mitigation works!) Timing plays a crucial role if interruption to scheduled works is to be minimised or avoided completely. Early planning and action can save valuable time and money on a project farther down the line. It is for this reason we recommend a discussion with us at the earliest opportunity to identify the timing of any possible actions.
Exclusion works and mitigation
It is sometimes necessary to physically exclude badgers from certain areas, either temporarily or permanently.
This may be for their own safety, as part of a mitigation plan, or to prevent damage to property. It may also be desirable to prevent contact between badgers and cattle for the prevention of disease. Where exclusion needs to be achieved EcoCon can offer a variety of solutions to achieve this outcome. Ranging from badger underpasses to specialist buried fencing.
We can also advise on the retention of suitable foraging habitat (Nearly always preferable if possible) or if necessary we can create and provide alternative habitats through planting schemes. Providing ongoing monitoring and management if required.