Badgers: Pest Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st September 2021.

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Photo of Lord Beith Lord Beith Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to issue guidance to local authorities about the control of badgers in (1) cemeteries, and (2) burial grounds.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

In England, licences - for the purpose of preventing serious damage to land, or any other form of property - to kill or take badgers, or to interfere with a badger sett are granted by Natural England (NE). NE is authorised, on behalf of the Secretary of State, to grant licences for this purpose.

In situations where badgers are causing damage to cemeteries or burial grounds, NE can provide case-specific advice to the local authority if requested, and this may include a site visit where this would be beneficial. If the damage is caused by foraging activities, then advice will normally relate to preventive measures that do not require a licence, such as the use of fencing and other proofing. Where the sett itself is causing damage to graves, then an application for a licence to exclude badgers from the sett may be appropriate.

Licences will only be granted where there are no satisfactory alternatives, the action to be licensed is proportionate to the scale of the problem and the licensed action will contribute to resolving the problem.

General guidance on the protection afforded to badgers and licensing activities impacting badgers is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/badgers-protection-surveys-and-licences.

Defra has no current plans to issue any further guidance to local authorities about the control of badgers in cemeteries or burial grounds.

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