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Animal Welfare: Buckinghamshire

Department for Transport written question – answered on 7th January 2020.

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Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which (a) badger, (b) fox and (c) rabbit holes have been netted in each of the last two months in Buckinghamshire; what steps were taken to prevent the animals living in those holes from being trapped underground; how the activity was supervised by the environmental authorities; and whether the necessary (i) planning and (ii) environmental permissions had been obtained in advance.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Badger setts/holes have been closed by HS2 contractors at three separate locations in the last two months in Buckinghamshire. Badger setts are closed under an HS2 Organisational Licence agreed with Natural England and all works are supervised by suitably experienced ecologists. In accordance with the licence, holes are fitted with one-way gates (allowing animals to get out of the holes but not to return) and are then monitored for a minimum of 21 days to ensure there are no animals using them before they are either blocked or dug out. Mesh would then usually be installed over the ground to prevent animals re-entering or digging new holes. No evidence of fox or rabbit activity has been noted during the mitigation work in the last two months in Buckinghamshire.

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