Protection of badger setts - Where law and science clash

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Join us for a talk by Roseanna Chinery MSc (Wild Animal Biology) and MSc (Building Surveying) and Crispin Agnew QC.


This talk summarises the research and conclusions reached in Roseanna and Crispin's article:

Agnew, C. and Agnew, R.C., 2016. Protecting badger setts–Where law and science clash. Environmental Law Review, 18(1), pp.8-24


Section 14 of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 defines ““badger sett” means any structure or place which displays signs indicating current use by a badger”.

The research for this article arose from concerns raised by Scottish Badgers following the sheriff’s decision in McLintock v Harris 2015 SLT (Sh) Ct) 26 which defined “badger sett” very narrowly thus making it difficult to obtain a conviction for damaging a sett. The sheriff’s narrow definition rejected the wider and scientific definition used by Scottish Natural Heritage which recognised that badgers have a number of setts, not all of which are in current use, although all are important for the health and welfare of the badger clan.

We concluded that the sheriff’s construction of the meaning of badger sett reflected Parliament’s intention, but that the narrow definition did not provide the necessary protection for all the setts used by a badger clan as part of their life cycle. Thus, law and science clash.

After the presentations, there will be the opportunity to pose questions to our expert speakers. All places must be booked. To register, you will need to log in first, then complete the registration form below. 


Speaker biographies

Roseanna Chinery (formerly Agnew) undertook a MSc in Wild Animal Biology at the London Zoo in conjunction with the Royal Veterinary College. Her interest in badgers was reflected in her dissertation, now published, on whether the infra sound from wind turbines causes chronic stress in badgers (Agnew, R.C., Smith, V.J. and Fowkes, R.C., 2016. Wind turbines cause chronic stress in badgers (Meles meles) in Great Britain. Journal of wildlife diseases, 52(3), pp.459-467.) She now works as a buildings project manager in the Houses of Parliament managing their conservation and refurbishment building projects.

Sir Crispin Agnew QC (non practising), who was a Patron of UKELA (2010-2018), had a specialist practice in rural property and environmental law, with a particular interest in nature conservation and the rights of nature. He is now non practising, but continues with academic research and writing on these and related topics.

6/15/2020 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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