A statement by the Bucks Badger Group on HS2.
We are protective about the badgers who will be affected by the construction of HS2 and are as devastated as you are at the destruction of the countryside and the impact it is having on the badger population.
HS2 have an open licence to close badger setts and there is nothing we can do about that. We can, however, do our best to react to concerns – even HS2 cannot break the law. As it stands, we have seen nothing to concern us. We are now in the close season so no new gates can be fitted until 1st July 2021.
A number of setts that are within the direct line of the construction have been closed. It is sad for the badger and upsetting for us, but while HS2 goes ahead, it must be done for the badgers’ safety.
The method of closing a sett is to install two way gates for a couple of days and to cover the adjacent ground with chain link fencing. After a couple of days, the gate is converted to a one way gate and the badgers are then excluded from their sett, which is very distressing for the badgers, but there is no choice. In some cases, there is a necessity to build an artificial sett, which is a long and difficult project. The area chosen to place the sett must be chosen with great care, with a good foraging area and not in another social territory. Once the sett is constructed, the badgers are encouraged to move into the new sett, not always successfully.
It is REALLY IMPORTANT that the gates and the chain fencing stays in place. Those who keep stealing the gates and ripping up the fencing are actually making things worse for the badger. Natural England will extend licences if need be.
If a badger goes back into the sett, when construction begins in the area, a live dig may take place under licence. This allows a badger to escape but in daylight hours and not under darkness. It is a procedure which is done very carefully and methodically but will inevitably cause the badgers distress but will not stop HS2. So please, for the badger’s sake, please leave the gates alone. The reason the security fencing has been put up, is to try to stop the irresponsible stealing of the gates.
The gates must stay on for at least three weeks and the hole can then be backfilled or collapsed, which they will be doing over the next few weeks.
Mike and Bob have been out to all the areas that we have had calls about and consider, HS2 is acting within the law. Many of the areas we have investigated have been rabbit holes or disused single low activity outlying setts and not of major significance to the badger social group. However, they should not be gating setts after 1st December and if anyone finds any setts that they are concerned about then please call us and we will investigate it. We have a line of communication with HS2/ Fusion. Bucks Badger Group is devoted to protecting badgers in Bucks ( there are many other issues to investigate and action besides HS2! ) and over the past few months have been doing that with the very limited manpower we have.
However, rather than taking matters into your own hands, please phone us and we will investigate any concerns.
If you see an injured or sick badger, please contact the Bucks Badger Group volunteers as quickly as you can using the following phone numbers:
For North Bucks: 07511 813555
For Mid Bucks: 07887 955861
For South Bucks: 07785 757063 or 01494 677633
If you cannot get a reply from the number in your area, then phone our admin number:
01494 715438 or 07979247797
or Tiggywinkles: 01844 292292
If you witness a wildlife crime ie blocking a sett, badger baiting etc and it is still happening phone 999 and also inform Bucks Badger Group.If it has already happened, phone Bucks Badger Group. If you find an badger in a snare, phone one of the numbers above and if possible stay with the animal until help arrives, although do not touch it.
To report a dead badger, fill in the report form on our web page, with as much information on the location as you can and a grid reference if possible. It is really important that we know the locations of as many dead badgers as possible.
The Buckinghamshire Badger Group was formed in 1986 and is a completely voluntary organisation whose aims are to learn about and to protect Buckinghamshire’s badgers. That is not to say that we will not help badgers under threat in other areas, if asked.
- We have experienced members who survey and monitor badger setts in the county which can be invaluable in helping to protect badgers and monitor numbers.
- We offer help and advice to local planning authorities, the public and other bodies such as HS2 on a wide range of issues.
- We liaise with the police and the RSPCA on illegal activities which regrettably happen all too frequently in the county, such as illegal snaring and digging out setts. We actively campaign against the use of any type of snare.
- We use our knowledge to educate both adults and children on the threats that badgers face and how you can help. We also have display boards which can be used in talks.
- Our experienced volunteers are equipped with rescue equipment and frequently go out to rescue wounded badgers. Most of our wounded badgers are taken to Tiggywinkles Wildlife Rescue Centre in Haddenham where they are given the best possible treatment by wonderful and caring staff.
- We also campaign on local and national issues that affect badgers.
- We are an affiliated member of the Badger Trust, which is the UK’s only national charity solely devoted to the protection of the badger.