Badgers. ©Laurie Campbell. NON SNH COPYRIGHT, FOR SNH USE ONLY ON THE WEBSITE. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

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.

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


Licensing Team
Telephone: 01463 725 364
Email: [email protected]