Is construction work disturbing badgers?

Badger hole at Chamberlains Barn Quarry
Badger hole at Chamberlains Barn Quarry

A member of the Bedfordshire Badger Group is concerned that work on the housing development at Chamberlain’s Barn Quarry has already disturbed active badger setts.

The new Arnold White Estates development on Heath Road has permission for up to 950 properties, and phase one is currently under construction.

Badger captured on trail camera at night

Badger captured on trail camera at night

The man from the group, who does not wish to be named, believes the work may already be impacting the badgers and claims the work is too close to the active setts.

He said: “My son saw a badger on Heath Road about nine months ago and that was when we began watching the badger activity on the land near to where they are planning to build a housing development.

“We set up trail cameras to monitor the activity, when I investigated there were three big setts, and they were all well established, so for them to say they are new setts where the drainage system will be, that is not true.

“When they came and began working we spoke to them and told them there were active setts, and to be fair to them, they stopped all work and contacted their ecologist.

Digger trucks at Chamberlains Barn Quarry

Digger trucks at Chamberlains Barn Quarry

“I want us to work with the construction company, I understand work has to go ahead because of the new housing development, but there must be a way round so that the active badger setts are not disturbed.

“My fear is that some badgers may have already died when the digging first began, and bulldozing has taken place feet from badger entrances.

“There are two other distinct setts and many separate holes spread through the middle and lower fields and surrounding hedge rows.

“The work is not 30 metres away from the active badger setts and we are worried that the work will push the badgers towards the road.”

Badger hole at Chamberlains Barn Quarry

Badger hole at Chamberlains Barn Quarry

Ecology Consultants, Ecology Solutions, for Arnold White Estates, sent this statement to the LBO: “Ecology Solutions, AWE’s consultants, have been working closely with Fox [contractors on the site] and during the construction period.

“Ecology Solutions has visited the site and concluded that there is no likelihood of significant disturbance to badgers as a result of the current drainage works.

“All setts are far enough away from the working area, with entrances orientating in the opposite direction. 
“There is evidence of recent use at the setts, indicating that badgers are continuing to go about their business.

“Central Bedfordshire Council’s ecologist has visited the site and agreed there is no likelihood of an adverse effect.

“A licence from Natural England, the Government’s statutory nature conservation agency, is in place.

“To be clear: active setts have not been disturbed and there is absolutely no likelihood of badgers having been killed.

“Work on the drainage system is continuing in consultation with Ecology Solutions, and there has been no delay to work on the wider site.”