HL Deb 27 October 2003 vol 654 cc18-9WA
Baroness Byford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have instigated research into the effect of badger behaviour on crop damage and wildlife, and in particular on threatened species such as ground nesting birds. [HL4880]

Lord Whitty

The Central Science Laboratory is currently carrying out Defra-funded research into the impact of badgers on ground nesting birds. The work involves a review of current knowledge in this area and intensive field investigations to determine levels of predation of ground nesting birds by badgers. The project will report its findings in March 2005.

The impact of badgers on agricultural crops and the use of electric fencing to reduce damage problems has been investigated by the Central Science Laboratory and officials of the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The findings of this research are published in scientific journals, while advice on badger-proof fencing is available on the Defra website (www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/ vertebrates).

Research examining the effects of badgers on agriculture and viniculture has also been carried out at Sussex University by Professor Roper.


Defra and Defra agency publications, report and guidance:

  1. (1) Moore, N. Whiterow, A, Kelly, P, Garthwaite, D, Bishop, J, Langton, S and Cheeseman, C (1999) Survey of badger Meles meles damage to agriculture in England and Wales. Journal of Applied Ecology, 36, 974–988.
  2. (2) Poole, D McKillop, GI, Wester, G, Hancocks, P, Packer, J and Coombs, C (1999) Effectiveness of an electric fence to reduce badger damage to field crops. Report to Rural Division. MAFF, London, UK
  3. WA 19
  4. (3) Wilson, CJ (1993) Badger damage to growing oats and an assessment of electric fences as a means of its reduction. Journal of Zoology, 231 688–675
  5. (4) Using electric fencing to prevent agricultural damage (Defra leaflet code WM15)
  6. (5) Electric fencing reference manual (Defra R&D Surveillance Report 607)


  1. (5) Roper, TJ, Findlay, SR, Lueps, P and Shepherdson, DJ ((1995) Damage by badgers Meles meles to wheat Triticum vulgare and barley Hordeum sativum crops. Journal of Applied Ecology, 32, 720–726.
  2. (6) Roper, TJ, Lueps, P and Lycett, S (1989) Badgers as pests in English vineyards. Mammals as Pests (e. RJ Putman) pp. 207–208. Chapman and Hall, London UK.