BADGERS now have somewhere safe to live in Caythorpe, thanks to some innovative working between Highways officers and conservation experts.
The badgers had made their home in a series of tunnels underneath Frieston Road, undermining the road and forcing it to be closed for safety reasons and to help protect the badgers.
Highways officers had to request a special licence from government organisation Natural England because, under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, it is illegal to interfere with a badger sett without this.
The county council’s Area Highways Manager, Mark Heaton, said: “We spent several days last week carefully excavating the badger sett, under the watchful gaze of Natural England, who have been absolutely superb to work with throughout. It has been an extraordinary experience, not something I’ve been faced with before.
“We expected it to be a smaller subset of a larger badger sett, but soon realised it was actually a main badger sett. Having worked through a mass of tunnels and chambers over quite an extensive area, we finally discovered a young adult and four cubs at the end of a run. Very cautiously, we opened the tunnel up to coax the badgers out, but they wasted no time quickly bolting off. We’ve connected various holes found at each side of the road with special pipes and reinforced them, so they can’t dig under it again. The badgers have already been spotted, so we hope this means they are returning.”
Tony Bird, Natural England Wildlife Adviser praise the highways team for their sympathetic and careful approach to this extremely complex job, allowing them to continue using their home.”
The road was reopened on Friday June 1. Villagers at nearby Hough on the Hill had complained about being cut off from services in Caythorpe while the work was undertaken.
Mr Heaton thanked everyone for their patience and understanding: “We’ve had to resolve this rather unusual and delicate situation in the safest way possible.”