Image demonstrating Badger-proof fencing set to be installed at Tweedmouth Cemetery

Badger-proof fencing set to be installed at Tweedmouth Cemetery

The County Council is set to install badger-proof fencing as part of its plans to tackle the issues of animals getting into Tweedmouth Cemetery in Berwick. 
At the same time it is also seeking to progress an application to Natural England for the relocation of the setts. 
The presence of badgers in the cemetery and their foraging activity has caused local concern, with some localised damage being caused to the surface of graves and other grassed areas within the cemetery.  
The council has worked with ecology experts to carry out survey work in support of the council’s proposed application to Natural England for a licence to relocate the badger setts at the cemetery.  
While the survey work has indicated that it will be difficult to secure the relocation of the setts based on the level of damage being caused within the cemetery by the badger’s, the Council considers that the significant distress being caused to families still warrants an application to try and secure the badgers relocation. 
However, as well as progressing the application for closing and relocating the setts, the Council now also intends to install badger proof fencing to prevent access into the new section of the cemetery. 
The fencing can be put in without causing any significant problems to the look of the cemetery, and should the application for the relocation of the existing setts be successful, the fencing will help mitigate the risk that the badgers just move nearby and continue their foraging activity in the cemetery. 
The council also appointed a firm specialising in ground penetrating radar equipment in order to try and determine the location and extent of the underground tunnels associated with the badger setts.  
Thankfully the analysis found no risk to buried remains at a subterranean level from the badgers. 
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for local services said: “We know this is a very difficult situation and have been doing our very best to deal with the issues the badgers are causing. 
We’ve engaged expert advice to find a solution and are still committed to pursuing the relocation of the setts, whilst also taking on-board independent professional advice, which recommends this new fencing be installed to help control the activity of the badgers.  
It’s clear that we cannot guarantee an application for a licence to relocate the setts will have a successful outcome, and therefore it makes sense to try and identify other measures, such as use of badger proof fencing to try and reduce damage from foraging activity within the cemetery.
“We’ll therefore be installing the fence as soon as possible, while also still progressing the application for their relocation.” 
Badgers and their setts are protected under law, making it an offence to intentionally attempt to kill, injure or trap one, or interfere with their habitats. 
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