Following an examination undertaken by Durrington Cemetery staff, it is understood that active badger setts have entered two areas of the Cemetery (sections 50 and 54). The Council has cordoned off the sites affected, and is taking the necessary steps to escalate the issue in compliance with law.
Badgers are a protected species under the Badgers Act 1992, and it is illegal to interfere with a set without a license from Natural England. The Council has engaged an Ecologist to conduct a full-scale survey over an extended period of three to four weeks, which will help to determine how far the sett extends.
Completion of this survey will help to establish the best way forward. This may include an application to apply for a licence from Natural England to disturb or move the sett. Under law, this licence can only be processed after a further 30 days and must be granted before the start of the badger breeding season on November 30.
Worthing Borough Council’s Bereavement Services Manager Kate Greening said:
“We are doing all we can to preserve the integrity of the sections of Durrington cemetery affected by badger activity.
As badgers are a protected species, we are required by law to secure permission from Natural England to carry out work at the cemetery which will hopefully encourage them to move to another area. Once that happens we can put in place measures to prevent them from returning.
As this is an active site, we understand that residents will be deeply concerned about graves being affected. We fully understand these feelings and want to reassure residents that we are moving as fast as we possibly can, whilst ensuring we comply with the rules and regulations which exist to protect badgers. We will have more information in the coming weeks and will update residents on progress as soon as we possibly can.”