It was brought to our attention that HS2 contractors had placed what could be considered to be poison near badget setts in the surrounding area along with netting to prevent animals from accessing certain areas. We contacted HS2 who provided the following statement:
"HS2 ecologists are looking at the movements of badger families in the Calvert area, to better understand the number of different ‘clans’ and where they are living in the area, to aid with mitigation ahead of construction of the railway. The monitoring includes ‘bait marking’ using coloured pellets which are mixed with food such as peanuts and syrup outside burrow entrances. The badgers then eat these pellets, and excrete them somewhere else nearby. This helps ecologists determine clan territory extent and different colours are used for each clan.
The specific locations where HS2 are carrying out bait marking cannot be signposted due to risks of disturbance to badger setts, as they are a protected species under the Badger Act 1992. There is no risk of harm to pets or animals as a result of these ecological monitoring activities.
The mesh has been put around the base of the tree to ensure badgers do not dig to create a sett."
We asked that signage is used to highlight to users of footpaths that this is safe for dogs. HS2 won't identify the actual locations by placing signage but have agreed to consider signage highlighting this on footpaths.