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The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (c.51)

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 consolidates and improved previous legislation (including the Badgers (Further Protection) Act 1991). It is a serious offence to kill, injure or take a badger, or to damage or interfere with a sett unless a licence is obtained from a statutory authority. In spite of this, it can be hard to enforce the law, so badger baiting continues.

However, the law is not confined to those involved in badger baiting. It also applies to property developers, farmers, game-keepers, home-owners, pest-control companies and so on.

Basically, if any-one damages or interferes with a badger sett, they can be prosecuted! People can also be prosecuted for having a dead badger - if you see a dead one, arrange for your local Badger Group the local council to collect the carcass and dispose of it. Never try to dispose of a dead badger yourself.

The more details of the Act, please see below, or for a summary of the legislation, a full copy of the Act can be ordered on-line from Her Majesty's Stationary Office.

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (c. 51)

This is an Act to consolidate the:

This Act protects badgers and their setts, and is laid out in three sections:

The 1992 Act repeals previous Badgers Acts of 1973 and 1991, and certain sections of other relevant acts such as The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, The Environmental Protection Act 1990, The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, The Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991, and The Criminal Justice Act 1991.

Offences

  1. Wilfully killing, injures or takes, or attempts to kill, injure or take, a badger.
  2. Cruelly ill-treating a badger, digging for badgers, using badger tongs, using a firearm other than the type specified under the exceptions within the Act.
  3. Interfering with a badger sett by damaging, destroying, obstructing, causing dog a dog to enter a sett, disturbing an occupied sett - either by intent or by negligence.
  4. Selling or offering for sale a live badger, having possession or control of a live badger.
  5. Marking a badger or attaching any ring, tag, or other marking device to a badger.

Exceptions and Licenses

  1. Taking a disabled badger for the purposes of tending it.
  2. Killing a seriously injured or sickly badger as an act of mercy.
  3. Unavoidably killing a badger as an incidental result of a lawful action.
  4. Any act which is authorized by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
  5. Killing or taking, or attempting to kill or take, or injuring a badger during any of these actions, as necessary for the purpose of preventing serious damage to land, crops, poultry, or any other form of property. This does not apply if it was apparent before that time that such action would be necessary, and a license had not been applied for, or an application had not been determined.
  6. Blocking sett entrances for the purposes of hunting foxes with hounds as detailed in the conditions set within section 8 of the Act.
  7. Having possession of a disabled badger for the purposes of tending it.
  8. An offence will not be committed if a license is obtained from the appropriate authority in order to carry out any activities prohibited by the Act, so long as the conditions contained in the license are adhered to.
  9. A license may be obtained from the appropriate authority in order to kill or take badgers, or interfere with their setts in order to prevent the spread of disease.
  10. A license may be obtained from the appropriate authority in order to interfere with a badger sett for the purpose of agricultural or forestry operations, or to construct, maintain or improve water courses, drainage, and tidal defences.
  11. Appropriate Authority means the relevant "Conservancy Council", or the relevant "Minister". In Scotland these would be "Scottish Natural Heritage" and the "First Minister

Enforcement and Penalties

  1. Where there are reasonable grounds for suspicion that there is an offence, a constable may without warrant stop and search any person or vehicle involved, and seize anything which may be evidence. In Scotland that person may be arrested if they give a satisfactory name and address.
  2. A Person convicted of an offence or offences under the terms of the Act is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months per offence, and or a fine not exceeding level 5 (approx 5000).
  3. Persons convicted of offences under the terms of the Act will have any badger, skin, and if the court sees fit, any weapon or article used in the commission of the offence forfeited.
  4. Any dog used in the commission of an offence may be destroyed, and the offender disqualified from having custody of a dog, and made pay for the dogs destruction.

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About Wildlife Consultants
Laws protect badgers from being harmed and their homes damaged. Whilst permits can be issued to allow such badgers to be moved, you need to have professional research done to see where the badgers are and what they need. In commercial property development, finance and logistics can be very important. Also, if an insurance company is paying for re-building work, they may want to be certain that the commercial risks are understood too. Wildlife Consultants are usually highly experienced at dealing with such legal and commercial issues and should be able to help mitigate the risks. Wildlife consultants help deal with protected species, making sure that developers understand the law and the needs of any animals. Local Badger Groups may also conduct badger surveys, and we run our own email-based Ask An Expert service.