New setts for badger families by the link road

Work is carried out on the artificial badger setts SUS-150327-131553001
Work is carried out on the artificial badger setts SUS-150327-131553001

PURPOSE-built setts have become the perfect new home for two families of badgers living along the route of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.

Existing setts in the path of the new road were relocated as part of the associated environmental work. The two new artificial setts remain in the badgers’ known territory.

The new homes were constructed using timber to create chambers and large plastic drainage pipes for tunnels and will give the badgers the flexibility to make changes to the construction.

“There are very strict rules about how this work is carried out and when it can be done”, said Mark White, environment manager for the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.

“Wildlife experts have helped us to ensure everything was done correctly and at the right time. For example, we couldn’t have moved the badgers during hibernation or the breeding season.”

All the work has been continually monitored and approved by Natural England – the Government’s official scientific adviser on the country’s wildlife.

One way gates were installed on tunnels to the old setts to prevent the badgers from returning, and night time cameras were used to check the creatures had not returned. The badgers were then encouraged into their new home using peanuts coated with syrup and honey.

“Badgers love peanuts and by giving them a free feed we were able to help them find their new homes. Both families are now well established and would not have stayed if they hadn’t been happy in the purpose built setts,” Mr White added.

Special badger proof fencing will be installed along parts of the road near to the setts and tunnels will also be created under the new construction to keep the animals away from traffic.

East Susssex County Council says the new link road will help bring 2,000 new homes, 3,000 new jobs and more than £1 billion of economic benefits to the area.

They say it will also relieve the high level of traffic congestion on the A259 between the two towns.

The county council has embarked on a tree planting programme and says it intends to plant two trees for every tree that has had to be removed due to construction work.

No date has been set for the opening of the new road.

A video about the project to construct the new badger setts can be found at http://youtu.be/W8hxvZm51Oc.