CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save soon-to-be homeless badgers have demanded action against dwindling population numbers.

Oxfordshire Badger Group claims the creatures are being exiled from Cumnor Hill thanks to a 'relentless march of development'.

Group chair Julia Hammett said: "Cumnor Hill is a building site. The loss of habitat is happening at an alarming rate across Oxfordshire.

"As we continue to build in gardens, greenfield sites and the green belt, wildlife is being squeezed out.

"The natural environment and wildlife is paying a high price for the relentless march of development."

She said residents were reporting 'unprecedented numbers' of dead badgers after an increase in lorries supplying the building sites.

Last month developer Lawrence Homes secured a licence to close the remaining few badger setts in the area, ahead of its work on demolishing 82 Cumnor Hill and building eight flats.

It was permitted by Vale of White Horse District Council in July, following approval of a nursing home which also saw badger setts closed.

Oxfordshire County Council filled in some of the Cumnor Hill setts in 2008 after badgers' tunnels were blamed for a sinking road surface.

Ms Hammett added: "Decisions are taken on a piecemeal basis without considering the cumulative effects of development on species.

"The badgers who have had to endure being evicted twice are again finding there is no place for them."

The group has demanded that Natural England reconsiders its decision to grant the licence, which has a condition stating precautions must be taken to prevent 'unnecessary suffering' of animals.

When the council approved the plans it noted recent closure of the tunnels 'have not caused the badgers to abandon the sett'.

Lawrence Homes could not be reached for comment.