Badgers Settle Into New Home
Badgers have taken to a new home created for them in Finchampstead. Two artificial setts have been created by Wokingham Borough Council and its partners after a sett was found near the area planned for the extension of Nine Mile Ride.
The collaboration builds on dedicated monitoring within the borough by the Binfield Badger Group, who have watched over the species in the borough for decades. Its members keep the council informed of badger setts across the area, which inform our decisions on where infrastructure is located.
Thanks to several years of work with the group and regular mapping by ecological surveyors expert advisors could understand the area and why the badgers chose to live there. This allowed us to create the two new artificial setts in a better location for them to thrive in the long run.
Long Term Future
When a new sett was discovered the council and its partners worked quickly to secure a long-term future for the badger clan. The tunnel and chambers were created last year and then peanuts and scent trails were used to attract the animals to their new homes. Monitoring has shown that the badgers adopted their new home almost immediately.
The location chosen for the sett is in an improved habitat for the species, as it has better access to a mix of foraging habitats to sustain the clan throughout the year and moves them further away from residential areas and the new road. All work was agreed with Natural England, the council’s ecologists, contractor Stantec’s ecologists and badger specialists Pearce Environment Ltd.
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “While some infrastructure works can disrupt wildlife we will always do our bit to provide them a new home safely, allowing projects to continue for the benefit of residents while looking after animals like badgers. I commend all those involved in the creation of the artificial badger setts and it’s fantastic to see them already being put to use by the animals.”
New infrastructure, such as road building, incorporates safety measures for badgers such as crossings under new roads as well as supporting new housing development in the borough. The Nine Mile Ride Extension is one of these major projects, with outline planning permission for the extension agreed in January 2019, with detailed designs currently being finalised.
Major New Roads
The council, working alongside its Major New Roads contractor Balfour Beatty, is aiming to begin construction later this year with the road expected to open in summer/autumn 2022.
The extension is part of with the major development at Arborfield Garrison. It will be the main route out of the southern part of the development and will connect to the existing A327 Eversley Road. This new section of road will help to mitigate the impact of additional traffic on existing routes through Arborfield Cross and Shinfield.