Dorset

Wyke Regis Cemetery remains not disturbed by badgers, report finds

European Badger Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The town council said more than 50 holes had been created by the badgers at Wyke Regis Cemetery

Badgers found burrowing at a cemetery have not disturbed any human remains as first feared, ecologists have found.

More than 50 holes have been discovered at Wyke Regis Cemetery, Dorset, but Weymouth Town Council said surveys had shown no tunnelling had taken place.

The existing main sett will be retained as it is located in "undisturbed brambles with minimal risk to visitors", a spokeswoman said.

However, the holes will be blocked to stop the animals returning.

Permanent signage will also be put up to warn visitors about the sett, the authority said.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Holes have been dug next to graves

Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 it is illegal to interfere with a sett. Licences from Natural England to move them are only granted in exceptional circumstances.

The council previously apologised for the "distress" caused by the animals, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said.

It had been thought an artificial sett may have to be installed at a cost of £15,000 but Alder Ecology said the current one could be retained.

The report said methods to fill in the existing holes, which appear have been created for foraging and shelter, include "soft blocking" until it is confirmed no badgers are using them before they can be "firmly blocked and netted to prevent the badgers returning".

It added "complete exclusion" of the badgers would "only serve to move the problem elsewhere".

Another ecologist report, to record badger activity at the site, is due to be carried out next spring.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Hollows were initially marked out with stakes and notices

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