SLOW DOWN. REPORT. SAVE LIVES.
Traffic is the number one threat to badgers in the UK. In recent surveys, it is suggested that 50,000 badgers are killed on the roads every year, making badgers the most numerous victims of road traffic accidents of all UK species. With over 25 million cars on the UK’s roads, and only set to increase, it’s easy to see the serious risk traffic poses to the nations wildlife.
#1 SPECIES KILLED ON BRITISH ROADS
Badgers are nocturnal creatures of habit. Family groups living in a sett will use the same well worn paths to access foraging grounds for generations.
As a result of the ever increasing rate of development, many of the UK's roads now intertwine with these well established routes. With the badgers poor eyesight and poorly planned roads it's no wonder that a recent survey ranked badgers at the top of the list making them the most commonly killed British species on our roads.
LATEST CAMPAIGN NEWS
YOU CAN GIVE BADGERS A BRAKE...
We are challenging you to join us and help make the UK's roads safer for badgers and other wildlife. Here are the 3 things you can do to help reduce wildlife related road accidents:
Every driver is at risk of hitting an animal crossing the road. Animals can appear in front of your car very quickly at any time of the day or night. Badgers are nocturnal animals, making particularly dangerous periods at night and during dawn and dusk. Badgers are at their busiest during March/May and September/November, making these periods peak times for road traffic accidents.
Only ever seen a dead badger on the road? Send us the details! This incredibly valuable data allows us to find hot-spots for fatalities and campaign for mitigation efforts such as bridges, tunnels, and signs to ensure badgers can cross roads safely. Your data will be key to the success of our campaigning efforts.
Encourage others to slow down and report dead badgers on the road. Share this page on your social media and follow us!
WHAT IS MITIGATION?
The demand for new roads is ever increasing, and with millions of animals being killed on the roads each year it has become integral that we find strategies to incorporate the natural world into development strategies. This is where mitigation comes in.
Mitigation measures are those that aim to reduce the risk of wildlife mortality on roads. With over 40 different types of mitigation available we aim to increase working partnerships with developers, councils and consultants to identify the most effective strategies and ensure they are effectively implemented.
SPREAD THE WORD ON SOCIAL MEDIA...
We want to make it easy for you to spread the word about the ‘Give Badgers a Brake’ campaign. Only together can we make a difference for the future of our badgers. Please feel free to use any of the following pre-made posts on social media:
Poorly planned roads kill #wildlife. Join the #campaign to give them a brakehttp://bit.ly/2qF21rv #GiveUsABrake
#Badgers are the number one species killed on our roads with 50,000 killed annuallyhttp://bit.ly/2qF21rv #GiveUsABrake #Stop4Brock
We are challenging you to join us and help make our roads safer for #badgers and other #wildlife
#Wildlife deaths on roads can be reduced with better planning and support from councils. Find out morehttp://bit.ly/2qF21rv #GiveUsABrake
Mitigation measures are those that aim to reduce the risk of #wildlife deaths on roads. Find out more:http://bit.ly/2qF21rv #GiveUsABrake
Slowing down and paying attention when driving makes the roads a safer place for both you and wildlife.http://bit.ly/2qF21rv #GiveUsABrake
Reporting dead #badgers sightings at the side of the road lets @BadgerTrust find hot spots and petition councils.http://bit.ly/2qF21rv #GiveUsABrake
BADGERS, ROADS AND DEVELOPMENTS
In the last 20 years the UK has seen a considerable expansion of roads contributing to a decline in green spaces and possible disturbance or relocation of badger setts. With roads comes houses, supermarkets, schools, and a variety of urban developments inevitably eating further into our green space.
The development of new roads poses a serious risk to badger populations by fragmenting habitats, creating barriers to food and breeding. Throughout their lifetime, badgers need to be able to forage, commute, and disperse. Connectivity, between foraging grounds and other social groups, is essential in sustaining badger populations. However, developments can break this connectivity, and therefore become barriers with which the species must negotiate. The cumulative impact of these barriers results in a reduced presence of the species and can lead to local extinctions.
The Badger Trust is calling for a coordinated policy, between all agencies, to improve safeguards for wildlife on roads across the UK. We believe that efforts to highlight the risks to wildlife, and people, on roads, and greater funding to improve mitigation measures will make roads a safer place for not only badgers, but all UK wildlife.
What happens when a development is to take place?
Where a development is in its implementation, the developer must make themselves aware of protected species on the land they intend to develop. Advice can be sought from the local planning authority, badger consultant, and/or the local badger group, and a survey of the area should be undertaken. It is our recommendation that the local badger group is involved, where possible.
Where badger setts are identified on the proposed land to be developed, specialist advice should be sought and the development design should be amended to mitigate against potential conflicts with the Protection of Badgers Act, 1992, which makes it an offence to damage, destroy, or obstruct access to a badger sett, or disturb a badger when it is occupying a badger sett. Mitigation includes short and long-term strategies including protection zones or artificial setts during development, and tunnels/underpasses, fencing and signs to ensure badgers can cross roads without resulting in road traffic accidents.
It is with these steps above that planning permission will be approved or rejected. However, planning permission does not mean that conflict will still not arise. Where works are still likely to affect badgers and their setts (particularly common with road developments as these follow a direct route), a license will be needed. Where a license to interfere with a badger sett is sought, it will need to be shown that all other steps have been taken to avoid conflict with badgers and their setts.
Licenses are regularly granted to relocate badger setts due to developments. In these cases, badgers will be excluded from their setts with the use of gates fixed to the entrances. An artificial sett will be built (in most cases where a breeding sett is to be excluded) within the same territory and the original sett will be destroyed.
Where do problems arise?
Badgers and their setts are frequently affected by development. The Badger Trust receives large volumes of enquiries relating to developments throughout each year. This is mostly by concerned members of the public questioning the presence of badgers in areas to be developed. The Trust regularly sees incidences where mitigation measures are not carried out and badger setts are destroyed; inevitably killing the animals underground. It is in these cases that there is a clear lack of monitoring of the area to be developed and it is regularly claimed that there is no presence of badgers, only later to be found that a badger sett has been overlooked or missed.
The use of artificial setts doesn’t always work. It is not uncommon for excluded badgers to return to the site of the original sett and attempt to reopen it. The uptake of artificial setts is unknown and displacement occurs, which can lead to negative interactions with humans, particularly with badgers visiting gardens.
For road developments in particular, not only do problems arise in the implementation, but there are also long-term negative effects of a new road in a badgers territory. A new road that crosses over a badger path becomes a nightly danger, and can reduce lifespan and impede the exchange of genetic material.
Put simply, new developments can be disastrous for badgers. Through our Give Badgers a Brake campaign, we seek to work closer with developers, consultants, local council planning authorities, and Natural England/Natural Resources Wales on a coordinated approach to mitigating for badgers during developments. We want to make sure that we are informed of, and consulted on, new initiatives and are involved in the works of new developments to ensure the welfare and protection of badgers and their setts.