Badgers are losing their homes at an alarming rate. All around the country people are fighting developments which they feel are changing their communities forever.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is being used as the justification by planning committees for thousands of new homes all over the country. Many animals, including protected species, find themselves displaced this Christmas thanks to the licensing system which is operated by a body called Natural England.

Take for example a small area of land on Webbs Way in the conservation area of Kidlington. Badgers had been living there happily in a well-established badger sett of 30-plus holes until the MD of Pye homes put in, and won, an application to build a home over the badger sett. Despite an online petition of over 1,700 people, including many local residents and pleas to leave the site as a wildlife area, the developer’s environmental consultants applied for a licence from Natural England and got it. The badgers have been given an artificial sett, but research shows that these are rarely a long-term success and badgers disperse.

The badgers have been reluctant to move. We now hear that there has been an extension to the licence into the ‘closed’ or breeding season, so that the process of exclusion of the badgers can be finalised. It seems that Natural England can move the legal goalposts for developers.

There are widespread calls for the licensing system to come under greater scrutiny and taken out of the control of a government body which is not accountable to the public for its actions. Thousands of badgers have been killed in culls and it now seems that hundreds of badgers and other wildlife are being moved and setts lost in the relentless march to build houses.

Julia Hammett
Oxfordshire Badger Group



Today’s letters


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