Badgers and licensing

Licences for surveys and research, development, land management and to prevent serious damage can permit otherwise illegal actions against badgers.

Badgers and their setts are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (as amended). Read about the badger as a protected species and find out how to identify a badger sett.

Most badger survey techniques, including bait marking, don’t require a licence – but you may need one for research involving badgers.

A developer may need a licence if planned development works could interfere with a badger sett. Land managers may need a licence for forestry or agricultural operations, or drainage and sea-water defence works near to setts.

We can issue licences to prevent serious damage by badgers to land, crops, poultry or other property.

It’s an offence to possess a dead badger or badger parts, unless the animal was killed or taken legally.

Badgers are most sensitive to disturbance during the breeding season. Licences aren’t usually granted for works near to badger setts during this period, which runs from 1 December to 30 June.

Badger Ecologist licence

Badger Ecologist licences can be issued to permit works with low conservation impacts to go ahead (if certain criteria are met) for the purposes of development, preventing serious damage, forestry and agricultural operations.

If you are an experienced badger ecologist in Scotland and you would like to apply for the Badger Ecologist licence please read the Badger Ecologist licence - an ecologist's guide to check you meet the criteria and for information on how to apply.

How to avoid application delays

Badger licence applications are most often delayed due to insufficient supporting information. It’s vital to explain fully the works to be carried out and how they will affect badger setts. Providing clear and unambiguous maps and photographs can usually resolve this issue.

Read the Guidance notes for providing supporting information for badger licence applications

Further information

For advice on planning consultations and applications for developments that could affect badgers, read our Standing Advice for Planning Consultations.

For all development proposals that may impact badgers in the Inverness and Highlands area read the Highland Council Badger Policy Guidance Note.

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If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team

01463 725364

[email protected]