Badgers are nocturnal and typically emerge from their underground tunnels (setts) from dusk. They do not hibernate fully during winter but activity levels are reduced and if the weather is particularly cold badgers may not emerge at all. Dry grass or straw bedding may be visible at sett entrances over winter, as badgers leave these out to air in the sun.

Regular daytime vegetation clearance has the potential to disturb active setts, as resident badgers are highly likely to be sleeping within the sett during the day. However, as badgers are known to build setts in areas with a high base level of disturbance (e.g. along roads and railways), the use of hand tools should not significantly disturb nearby badgers. Works with heavy machinery, including saw-mounted vehicles, are much more likely to disturb badgers and collapse setts.

  • Always conduct a survey for badger setts at site as part of pre-works checks, particularly if the worksite supports agricultural land or deciduous woodland. 
  • If badger setts are found, consult with an ecologist to ensure that works will comply with the relevant legislation. Extensive destructive works will require a mitigation licence from Natural England.
  • Always avoid blocking sett entrances with fallen vegetation, and where possible keep the use of heavy machinery to a minimum.