Nairn Development: Badger survey and Badger Protection Plan.

Report for Springfield Properties Plc

Highland Ecology and Development Henrietta Park Balblair Dingwall Ross-shire IV7 8LJ Tel 01381 610313, Mob 07769606515 E mail hedltd@gmail.com Web www.hedltd.com


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Disclaimer This report has been prepared by Highland Ecology and Development ltd with all reasonable skill and care within the terms of the agreement with the client. We disclaim any responsibility to any parties in respect of matters outside this scope.

Information supplied by the client or any other parties and used in this report is assumed to be correct and Highland Ecology and Development accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies in the data supplied.

Highland Ecology and Development accepts no responsibility to third parties who duplicate, use, or disclose this report in whole or in part. Such third parties rely upon the use of this material at their own risk.

Document Revision History

Issue Issue date Remarks 1 07/2017 2 10/2017 Updated following vegetation clearance under licence

from SNH 3 §

03/2018 Update following field surveys in March 2018

Circulation No. Copies Springfield 1

Document prepared for Robert Grant

Document prepared by

......................................... Paul Young BSc MSc CEnv Director & Principal Ecologist SNH Licensed Bat Worker 27009


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Contents Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 4

Badger Survey ......................................................................................................................................... 6

Legislation ........................................................................................................................................... 6

Methodology ....................................................................................................................................... 6

Results ................................................................................................................................................. 7

Table 1 Badger Records (active).............................................................................................................. 7

Table 2 Badger Records (inactive)........................................................................................................... 7

Table 3 Rabbit Records ........................................................................................................................... 8

Discussion and Recommendations ..................................................................................................... 9

Table 4 Setts impacted by proposals (Flags with numbers marked on the ground) .............................. 9

Badger Protection Plan ......................................................................................................................... 11

General Principals ............................................................................................................................. 11

Appendix 1a Images from Survey ......................................................................................................... 14

Appendix 1b Sett records and numbers – on site ................................................................................. 18

Appendix 2 Sett locations and buffer zones ......................................................................................... 31

Appendix 3 Sett type and Activity ......................................................................................................... 36

Appendix 4 References ......................................................................................................................... 37


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Introduction Highland Ecology and Development Ltd was commissioned to undertake a badger survey of an area to the north east of Nairn for the development of the housing estate by Springfield (NGR 290375 857127) – see Fig 2.

Badgers had previously been identified as being present nearby with the potential to be impacted by the works. The results of the surveys are presented below with a Species Protection Plan prepared to allow the development to proceed in the vicinity of the badger setts whilst minimising the impact. Recommendations are provided on the need for licensing and mitigation as required to permit the development to proceed.

The development area is dominated by open grasslands and mature birch woodland to the south. A watercourse runs east to west across the site with a dog leg in the middle section. This was heavily overgrown and the vegetation was partly cleared under a Scottish Natural Heritage disturbance licence (No.102619) in 2017. Following this further assessment was made of the setts present in terms of recent activity. There are significant numbers of rabbits throughout the site within the riparian corridor.

Fig 1 Development area is dominated by open grasslands with wooded riparian zone and mature birch woodland to the south


Fig 2 Springfield – Nairn Development Area and proposed housing layout


Badger Survey Legislation Badgers are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. It is illegal to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger. Their setts are also protected against obstruction, destruction or damage in any part, and the animals within a sett cannot be disturbed.

Disturbance of an active sett can include:

• Light work such as hand digging within 10m.

• Use of light machinery (generally wheeled vehicles) within 20m.

• Using heavy machinery (generally tracked vehicles) within 30m.

It is therefore important that a Badger Survey is undertaken at an early stage of the development to inform the scheme design to ensure that adequate mitigation is put in place to minimise the impact on the badgers present.

Methodology The current survey extended 100m beyond the site boundary by two field ecologists where access permitted. Weather conditions were generally good with cool dry conditions. Badgers were active during this period. Badger signs that were searched for included the following (from Harris et al (1989).

1. Latrines and faeces - found in pits often in concentrations close to territorial

boundaries 2. Setts – either a single hole or series of connected holes 3. Paths - linking setts or feeding habitat 4. Hairs - usually on fences that the badgers have moved through 5. Snuffle holes and digging - formed during foraging 6. Footprints and scratching posts on trees

Location of setts and signs were plotted using a hand held GPS Garmin GPSMap 60CSx with an accuracy of 5-7m providing a 10 figure grid reference. It should be noted that the accuracy of hand held GPS is affected by woodland canopy and it is advised that all setts in the vicinity of the works should be located and plotted using a Total Station or equivalent prior to works commencing.

The setts were classified into those that were currently active, and those that were disused. Evidence was also gathered at each sett entrance visited including; vegetation growth, leaf litter accumulation at the entrance, recently excavated spoil heaps, extent of trails and bedding evident in vicinity.


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Results The survey results (Appendix 1a/b) highlight that:

1. Badgers are active within the development area with a number of active setts and

evidence of feeding, trails and older unused setts. (see Table 1 & Figure 3) 2. The Main Sett 1 (Fig 3) seems to be focussed on the watercourse although the Annex Sett 2 (Fig 3) shows signs of badger activity with a number of active and partially active sett entrances. 3. Rabbits are also extensive throughout the site with some older badger sett entrances

currently occupied by rabbits. (Table 2 and Fig 4)

Table 1 Badger Records (active)

GPS Ref Description Zone Eastings Northings 215 12 Sett entrance NH 290351 857238 216 13 Sett entrance NH 290349 857241 226 23 Sett entrance NH 290327 857155 227 24 Sett entrance NH 290327 857154 228 25 Sett entrance NH 290328 857150 229 26 Sett entrance NH 290328 857149 230 27 Sett entrance NH 290330 857148 232 29 Sett entrance NH 290328 857146 233 30 Sett entrance NH 290326 857144 235 32 Sett entrance NH 290325 857141 236 33 Sett entrance NH 290328 857141 237 34 Sett entrance NH 290326 857139 238 35 Sett entrance NH 290324 857139 239 36 Sett entrance NH 290320 857136 245 42 Sett entrance NH 290260 857125 269 68 Sett entrance

NH 290440 856970 270 69 Sett entrance

NH 290434 856977 265 64 Sett entrance

NH 290438 856994 266 65 Sett entrance

NH 290420 856965 267 66 Sett entrance

NH 290422 856960 268 67 Sett entrance

NH 290432 856956 269 68 Sett entrance

NH 290440 856970 270 69 Sett entrance

NH 290434 856977 251 50 Sett entrance

NH 290154 857126 252 51 Sett entrance

NH 290148 857126

Table 2 Badger Records (inactive)

GPS Ref Description Zone Eastings Northings 205 2 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290441 857240 206 3 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290440 857242 207 4 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290414 857240 208 5 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290411 857241 210 7 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290402 857244


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212 9 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290357 857242 213 10 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290356 857242 214 11 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290352 857241 217 14 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290337 857238 218 15 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290336 857237 219 16 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290318 857227 221 18 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290322 857195 224 21 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290324 857179 225 22 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290326 857157 231 28 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290328 857147 234 31 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290326 857143 241 38 Sett entranced unused NH 290285 857128 242 39 Sett entranced unused NH 290270 857127 243 40 Sett entranced unused NH 290267 857126 244 41 Sett entranced unused NH 290264 857126 246 43 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290211 857111 247 44 Sett entrance - Unused NH 290210 857109 248 45 Sett entranced unused NH 290208 857110 249 46 Sett entranced unused NH 290202 857110 253 52 Sett entranced unused NH 290150 857123 254 53 Sett entranced unused NH 290229 857107 255 54 Sett entranced unused NH 290224 857102

Table 3 Rabbit Records

Reference Species Sign Zone Eastings Northings

204

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290446 857239 256

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290378 857235 209

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290406 857243 211

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290389 857244 222

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290324 857183 223

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290324 857179 250

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290151 857124 261

Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290531 856983 263

Rabbit

Burrow NH 290529 856979 264

Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290478 856984

220 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290020 857185 229 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290260 857073 230 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290346 857052 231 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290363 857050 239 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290474 856944 246 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290407 856883 246 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290545 856984 248 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290475 856986

249 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290543 856999 250 Rabbit

Burrow

NH 290529 857089


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Discussion and Recommendations The evidence of badger setts around site reflects the presence of an active badger clan within the wider area. The timing of the survey meant that some dense areas of vegetation along the watercourse could not be accessed for survey. Vegetation was not cleared on sections of the southern side of the burn and within the woodland to the south east.

Historically adjacent development has altered drainage within the woodland and resulted in recent flooding (perrs comm. Landowner). This has probably resulted in movement of badgers to higher or more free draining ground. The badger activity is principally divided between the setts within the woodland and the sett along the watercourse within the development area. It is suggested that these represent a Main and Annex setts.

The presence of a large population of rabbits has further complicated the evidence on site with active rabbit burrows within unused setts and badgers digging out rabbit warrens (in pursuit of rabbit kits which they will feed on)

In summary:

A Badger Disturbance licence was obtained from SNH ahead of clearance works within 30m of any active badger setts. All sett entrances along the riparian corridor which crosses the site and those to the south of the site were mapped following the clearance of some of the vegetation to permit more detailed survey (this was done under licence from SNH). A follow up field survey was undertake to determine current usage of setts likely to be affected by the works ahead of any exclusion or disturbance within 30m in March 2018. The results and proposed mitigation are presented in table 4.

Table 4 Setts impacted by proposals (Flags with numbers marked on the ground)

Sett Reference (see Fig 3)

Location Sett Type Impact Mitigation

1

Riparian zone RHB (Flags 21-35)

Disturbance within 20m

Establish 20m exclusion zone

2

Main sett (15)

Riparian zone RHB (Flag No. 41)

Outlier – active. 1 entrance

Disturbance within 5m

Exclude sett

3

Riparian zone RHB (Flag Numbers 11-12)

Disturbance within 20m

Establish 20m exclusion zone

4

Outlier – active. 2 entrances Riparian zone LHB (Flag Number 46-49) Outlier – active. 2

entrance

Disturbance within 20m

Establish 20m exclusion zone

5

Woodland area to SW of site (Flag Number 15-20)

Annex sett – active 6 entrances

Disturbance within 25m

Establish 25m exclusion zone


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Fig 3 Badger (+ other) records from 2017/18 survey (see Table 4 for reference numbers)

3. Outlier setts

1. Main sett

4. Outlier setts

5. Annex sett partly used (6 entrances)

2. Outlier sett


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Badger Protection Plan

General Principals The maintenance of badger populations (IBS Reynolds and Harris 2003) in the face of development will best be achieved by;

• the protection of main and annexe setts in situ

• the retention of key foraging areas and creation of compensation foraging

• the avoidance of potential sources of mortality associated with the development

• integration of wildlife corridors within any development

The overall strategy to minimise the impact on the badger population associated with the works is to:

• ensure that important badger travel routes are not detrimentally affected in the long term

• minimise disturbance to badgers and avoid exclusion of main or annex setts if practical during the enabling works and construction phase

• undertake monitoring (during and post construction) to ensure method statements are adhered to and that mitigation measures are functioning as anticipated

As a principal if construction works are likely to impact on badger setts within 10-15m or less then it is likely that the badger sett(s) will need to be excluded under licence from SNH (This is normally permitted under licence between 1st July and 31st Nov).

This approach incorporated into the Badger Protection Plan in support of a licence application and delivered through a Construction Method statement will minimise any potential direct impact on the welfare of badgers as a result of the works.

The following measures are considered essential to ensure adequate protection of badgers on site;

1. A suitably experienced badger specialist will be employed to advise on and oversee badger-related aspects of the project. This specialist will be present on site when necessary throughout the works. 2. The exclusion of the sett (Ref 2. Outlier in Fig 3) will be undertaken by the badger

specialist under a licence from Scottish Natural Heritage.. 3. The exclusion of the sett will be undertaken using badger fencing and metal badger gates. Construction of exclusion fencing including posts will be undertaken by hand close to sett entrances. 4. The badger gates will be set to open two-ways for a minimum of five days, followed by opening one way (outwards) for a minimum of 14 days with monitoring twice weekly. 5. The exclusion (subject to a licence being issued by SNH) will take place between 1st

July and end of November 2018 6. Safe passage will be maintained for badgers through or around the construction

works. This will be maintained at all times throughout the construction period. The badgers will be confined to the riparian corridor with badger proof fencing constructed along the length of the watercourse (see Fig 4). This will be in place in advance of any site works. Fencing Specification as per SNH: http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/wildlife/badger.pdf 7. The Contractor shall ensure that all site staff, sub-contractors and visitors are briefed prior to the commencement of all site-clearance/construction activities (by an badger


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

specialist) via a tool-box talk. This will ensure compliance with relevant legislation and any requirements as specified within the badger licence. All personnel working within the site will be adequately briefed on badger issues as part of site induction before they are allowed to work, should they arrive after tool-box talks have been undertaken; this includes all sub-contractors working on the site. 8. Lines of communication shall be established within and between Contractor teams

and with the site Project Manager. Specific procedures will be set up to communicate any issues/conflicts should they arise with respect to badgers. 9. All site clearance and construction works with the potential to affect badgers shall

require a detailed method statement. This will be agreed with the badger specialist, which will be reviewed and signed off by the site Project Manager in advance of any site works commencing. 10. To ensure that the most up to date information regarding the local badger population

is available and that new setts have not recently been created in close proximity to the scheme, a pre-construction (pre-site works) badger survey will be conducted by an experienced ecologist/badger specialist. This will cover all areas affected by the proposed works and within 100m of known badger setts. If a new badger sett is discovered and found to be occupied, Scottish Natural Heritage should be informed and an appropriate course of action agreed. This may include an amendment to any licence or a rescheduling of works in the vicinity. 11. The set up of any exclusion zones will be overseen by a badger specialist and will

remain intact throughout the construction period and or until the setts have been successfully excluded. No site personnel or machinery will be allowed to enter the badger exclusion areas. All site personnel will be briefed to ensure an understanding of the exclusion zone and its restrictions. A designated member of site staff (e.g. site foreman) will be responsible for ensuring the exclusion zone fencing remains intact and that the restrictions are being implemented. 12. Clear signage will be placed along the fence lines showing a machine pictogram and

text saying ‘no entry to personnel or machinery’ 13. Any trees to be felled will be felled away from active setts and arisings will not block

badger paths. 14. Excavations present a potential risk to badger through injury or entrapment and as

such excavations will either be covered up during non-working hours / at night-time or include a means of escape (such as shallow sloping access ramps) so that badgers do not become trapped 15. Increased noise emissions will be minimised as much as possible and will adhere to

noise limits set by the relevant regulatory authority. The use of noisy plant and machinery in the vicinity of the protected exclusion zones will cease 2 hours before sunset until successful exclusion has been achieved 16. Site compound, chemical and fuel stores will be located away (> 30m) from badger setts and badger paths. Work or Security lighting will be directed away from sett entrances.

This Badger Protection Plan (BPP) provides supporting information for a licence application for the works as proposed. The BPP is based on field work and survey results (March 2018) and forms the basis of current mitigation measures to be carried out by the contractor to protect badgers in the vicinity of the works. Badgers are prolific diggers and this survey should be updated ahead of any works if they are significantly delayed (>6 months).


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Fig 3 Badger setts and proposed fencing to channel badgers away from the development


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Appendix 1a Images from Survey

point Way

Location Description Image

Protected Species – badgers

1 North east corner

Development area is dominated by open fields

2 North east corner

Common lizard observed along this hedge line

3 North west corner Badger trail under stock fence


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4 Mid section of field Badger Feeding signs

5 North west corner

Badger trail through stock fence

6 North west corner Fresh Badger latrine

7 North west

Rabbit excavation on embankment


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8

Rabbit excavation but Mid section of field

evidence of enlargement of close to woodland

entrances potentially by badger.

9 West of site

Badger satellite sett with fresh bedding and badger hairs outside

10

Sett entrance in dense vegetation running down to watercourse – with evidence of recent digging. This could Riparian area (Sett

not be completely surveyed 1)

due to dense vegetation. Some clearance will be required to determine the extent of the setts, number and location.

11 Central field area

Rabbit excavation but evidence of enlargement of entrances potentially by badger digging out rabbits for food


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12 Badger sett area 2

Evidence of use by badgers as well as rabbits

13

South west of site within woodland area

Active Rabbit warren

14

Artificial Badger sett (2

Within woodland south east of site

entrances) – no signs of use. This sett has in the past flooded during the winter months.


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

Appendix 1b Sett records and numbers – on site

Ref Zone Eastings Northings Elevation Photo

1 NH 290446 857239 14.639

2 NH 290441 857240 15.074

3 NH 290440 857242 14.563

4 NH 290414 857240 14.902


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5 NH 290411 857241 15.153

6 NH 290406 857243 14.978

7 NH 290402 857244 15.796

8 NH 290389 857244 16.19


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9 NH 290357 857242 17.256

10 NH 290356 857242 17.271

11 NH 290352 857241 17.765

12 NH 290351 857238 17.612


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13 NH 290349 857241 17.569

14 NH 290337 857238 17.363

15 NH 290336 857237 18.29

16 NH 290318 857227 19.392


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17 NH 290322 857203 19.004

18 NH 290322 857195 18.869

19 NH 290324 857183 18.578

20 NH 290324 857179 19

21 NH 290324 857179 19.936 In above photo


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22 NH 290326 857157 20.275

23 NH 290327 857155 21.471

24 NH 290327 857154 20.087

25 NH 290328 857150 20.72


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26 NH 290328 857149 19.834

27 NH 290330 857148 20.073

28 NH 290328 857147 20.871

29 NH 290328 857146 21.115


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30 NH 290326 857144 20.659

31 NH 290326 857143 21.484

32 NH 290325 857141 20.468

33 NH 290328 857141 21.088


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34 NH 290326 857139 20.289

35 NH 290324 857139 21.121

36 NH 290320 857136 20.997

37 NH 290286 857130 19.8


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38 NH 290285 857128 19.324

39 NH 290270 857127 19.462

40 NH 290267 857126 20.765

41 NH 290264 857126 21.18


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42 NH 290260 857125 21.166

43 NH 290211 857111 20.227

44 NH 290210 857109 20.083

45 NH 290208 857110 19.699


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46 NH 290202 857110 21.623

49 NH 290151 857124 19.472

50 NH 290154 857126 20.254

51 NH 290148 857126 19.921


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018

52 NH 290150 857123 20.472

53 NH 290229 857107 20.558

54 NH 290224 857102 20.038

55 NH 290378 857235 20.629


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Appendix 2 Sett locations and buffer zones


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Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018


Highland Ecology and Development services Nairn Development – Springfield, March 2018


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Appendix 3 Sett type and Activity

Sett Type

• Main sett: this is the most important sett within a badger territory. It is normally large, consisting of five or more entrances with large spoil heaps. It is used throughout the year and acts as the main habitation and breeding sett. Each badger social group (or clan) has just one main sett in its territory.

• Annexe sett: this also will have several well used entrances and is connected to the main sett, 50-150m away, by a well trodden path. The annexe sett is not always used.

• Subsidiary sett: these have a variable number of entrances and are not usually connected to the main sett by an obvious well trodden path.

• Satellite or Outlier sett: these typically have one or two holes and often no defined path linking them to the main sett. They are only occasionally used.

Activity

• Active hole: these are clear of any debris or vegetation, are obviously in regular use and may or may not have been excavated recently.

• Partially active hole: these are not in regular use and have debris such as leaves and twigs in the entrance, or have moss and/or other plants growing in or around the entrance. Partially active holes could be in regular use after a minimal amount of clearance.

• Disused hole: these have not been in use for some time, are partially or completely blocked and could not be used without a considerable amount of clearance. If the hole has been disused for some time all that may be visible is a depression in the ground where the hole used to be and the remains of the spoil heap which may be covered in plants and moss.


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Appendix 4 References

Inverness Badger Survey, 2003 Baiting Survey Nigel Rudd 2006 Badger Survey Nigel Rudd 2008 Grampian Badger Surveys (March 2004) Badger Information Report (HC) DMRB Volume 10 Section 1 Badgers Guidelines for Developers – English Nature Highland Councils Supplementary Guidance – Highland’s Statutorily Protected Species 2013 Schnitzler,H.U., Moss, C.F. & Denzinger, A. 2003. From spatial orientation to food Anon 1994: The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994: HMSO Anon 2004: The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004: HMSO Green R. & Green J. (1997) Otter survey of Scotland 1991-94. The Vincent Wildlife Trust, London. Joint Nature Conservancy Council (1994) Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan. HMSO, London. Joint Nature Conservancy Council (1993) Handbook for Phase 1 habitat survey. JNCC, Peterborough The Highways Agency (2001a) Nature Conservation Advice in relation to otters. DMRB, Volume 10 Environmental Design and Management, Section 4 Nature Conservation, Part 4 HA 81/99. The Highways Agency. Anon., 2004. The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations. HMSO, London. Anon., 1981. Wildlife and Countryside Act. London: HMSO. Bang, P. & Dahlstrom, P. (2001) Animal Tracks and Signs Oxford University Press.