Our Hi-Line ecology team recently supervised the installation of new underground power cables through a large badger sett, in Somerset. These essential works were part of a much wider scheme which had been in the planning stages for many years. Unfortunately, several weeks before the work was due to take place, evidence of badger activity was discovered on site. It soon became clear that the badgers had excavated their sett in the path of the underground cables, and with no viable alternative route for them, a solution was urgently needed.
Western Power Distribution contacted our ecologist, who surveyed the site and then applied for a badger licence from Natural England. As part of the licence conditions it was necessary for the ecologist to supervise the trenching works and to ensure that any tunnels exposed during the excavation were suitably repaired.
The careful removal of topsoil began, followed by gentle scraping away of the earth below which quickly revealed two badger tunnels……. followed by two more……until a total of nine tunnels had been uncovered! This was far more than anyone had expected and certainly made everyone’s jobs far more complicated.
Once the ducting for the new underground cables had been laid, each badger tunnel had to be carefully reconstructed using heavy duty plastic pipes with an internal diameter of at least 300mm (to allow badgers to pass through them). This ensured that the sett was not permanently damaged and provided guaranteed escape routes for any badgers sheltering below ground.
After three long days and some expert tunnel construction by the cabling contractors IPS Power, the new improved badger sett was carefully covered over with the original earth. Let’s hope the badgers approve of their new sett renovations.