Badgers are large burrowing mammals whose numbers have increased over the last 10 years, especially around Cheshire and the North West.
The Protection of badgers Act 1992 means that badgers and their setts, notwithstanding certain exemptions, are legally protected. Put bluntly, this means that it is a criminal offence to wilfully kill, attempt to kill, injure or take a badger, or intentionally or recklessly damage a badger’s sett.
This could include knowingly damaging or destroying any part of it, obstructing access or entrance to it, causing a dog to enter it or disturbing a badger when it is occupying the sett.
However, badgers can cause damage by rooting and digging pits in lawns and turf when foraging for food such as earthworms or insect larvae. They can damage soft fruit crops, the lower branches of fruit trees, dig up and eat root vegetables, and even flower bulbs. They are also known to raid dustbins as well as creating extensive tunnel systems that have the potential to result in a risk of subsidence.
In dairy farming areas particularly, a serious concern regarding the movement of badgers is that they are likely to be hosts for TB and that infected badgers can transmit bovine TB to cattle and other animals, and vice versa.
In addition, badgers – the biggest UK land predator – are powerfully built and stocky. Fully grown they are just under a metre long, can weigh between 10-12kg, and yet are capable of passing through a gap of only 7.5cm. If they wander into roads, particularly in the dark, they can cause serious accidents, significant damage to vehicles, or be killed themselves.
Obviously, the ability to keep badgers away from livestock and roads is an important concern which is why some areas and farms install badger fencing to protect cattle from the spread of the disease, people and badgers from the potential risk of accidents on roads, and the general damage that they can cause in gardens, smallholdings, orchards or crops.
Not only can badger fencing can be a stand-alone fence, it can also be used in conjunction with post and rail fencing or livestock fencing. It uses strong, high tensile wire netting which can endure a high amount of stress before failing or breaking. This prevents badgers from tearing through or climbing over the fence, and which is usually helped by an overhang at the top which faces away from the area to be protected. In addition, it is buried to between 30 and 60cm below the surface, often at an angle to stop the badger from burrowing underneath.
At Stockdale Fencing we are well aware of the problems caused by badgers in Cheshire and the North West. We have years of experience in the installation of badger fencing, and we can offer advice and fencing solutions tailored to your specific issue.