Badgers: information and advice
Advice to householders
Badger numbers have increased in urban areas and they can sometimes cause damage to gardens, property and amenity areas. Where a number of adjoining properties are affected, solving a badger problem may require discussion and co-operation between neighbours.
Badgers and the law
Badgers and their setts are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which makes it illegal to kill, injure or take badgers or to interfere with a badger sett. Interference with a sett includes blocking tunnels or damaging the sett in any way.
Damage and prevention
Badgers are good at exploiting the range of foods available in urban areas. They do eat invertebrates and may dig shallow pits in lawns which is often what brings badgers into conflict with householders. Earthworms are taken from the surface of the ground, but during dry conditions, damage to the turf can occur. Insect larvae such as cockchafers and crane-fly can also damage a lawn and may also attract badgers. Rooting by badgers to feed on these larvae can make an existing problem worse. This kind of damage is usually short-lived and likely to be more pronounced in late autumn and early spring.
Additional problems can be experienced when badger latrines (dung pits), used to mark the boundaries of territories, are sited in gardens.
Prevention of damage
Some problems caused by badgers can be solved easily eg. bins can be fitted with a clip-on lid or expanding bungee straps to secure the lid.
Lawn damage is caused when badgers are attracted by the presence of turf pests. Pesticides to eradicate these turf pests may alleviate the problem but the effects on other beneficial pests should be considered. An alternative solution may be to lay wire netting beneath the soil to prevent badgers digging for grubs or flower bulbs.