Frisky badgers force closure of Suffolk road
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Tunnelling badgers have caused a road in Suffolk to begin to sink, forcing it to close until the end of their breeding season.
Suffolk County Council was alerted to reports that Flowton Road in Somersham was beginning to sink “due to animal activity”. Upon investigation by the council’s ecology team, it discovered evidence of a badger sett, and was forced to implement an emergency road closure.
The road is likely to remain shut until the end of summer; the badgers will be enjoying their breeding season over the coming months and, due to being a protected species in England and Wales, are not to be disturbed.
Badgers work in groups to dig large and complex setts in the ground, which can have dozens of exits and many nesting chambers. These setts are kept very clean, with basic sanitation systems, and deceased badgers either sealed off in a chamber or buried outside.
“As badgers are a protected species, Suffolk Highways has a legal obligation to seek a licence from Natural England to undertake road repairs in the vicinity of badgers,” a council spokesman stated.
“To ensure that badgers are not disturbed during their breeding season, Natural England usually only issues licences between 1 July and 30 November. Suffolk Highways are now liaising with Natural England to plan the necessary repair works, which are likely to be undertaken during the summer.”
“It will therefore be necessary to keep this emergency road closure in place until we are able to carry out these repair works.”
The East Anglian Daily Times has reported that some local residents – annoyed with the stripy mammals for ruining their gardens – have been ignoring the road closure and continuing to drive over the badger sett.
Suffolk appears to be a hot spot for badger-related complications: during filming of BBC drama The Child in Time, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, the production crew spent hours unloading and carrying equipment by hand in heavy rainfall, as inconsiderate badgers had burrowed underneath the only road to the rural location and could not be disturbed. Last year, badgers were blamed for causing a sinkhole to appear in the only road to a seaside hamlet, requiring engineers to erect a ‘micro-bridge’ over the hole.
Last year, the Australian National Broadband Network Company announced that the government’s new multi-billion network had been damaged by curious cockatoos chewing through its cables.