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Concerns over badger road closure

8 May 2008 - BBC News

The closure of a road due to mating badgers in Cambridgeshire could lead to a pub going out of business, its owners have claimed.

Croydon's High Street has been closed by the county council after badgers burrowed underneath it, making the road unsafe for traffic. Badger Protection laws mean the badgers cannot be moved until after the end of September.

The county council and Defra said they hoped to keep the road open until the badgers could be moved in the Autumn. But tests using radar equipment revealed that the badgers had extended their sett so much that in places there was just a thin layer of road surface left. The council said it could potentially cave in if a large vehicle drove over it.

David Gilkes, of the county council, said: "The badgers have extensively undermined the road and made it unsafe for traffic, but as a protected species we don't want to move them until it is the right time."

The council said it had put diversions in place to direct people to local businesses, including the Queen Adelaide pub. The pub's owners said the alternative route took customers past other pubs and was costing them vital trade. Michelle Hunter, owner of the Queen Adelaide, told the BBC: "We're missing out on the lunchtime trade due to the disadvantage of going the long way around to get here. It's not a good economic climate anyway but we've seen a big drop - lunchtime trade is non-existent, we're seeing one or two customers. There could have been a way to keep it [the road] single file, light traffic or use a steel plate on the road. I feel it could have been handled a lot better. If it goes on until September we won't be able to survive."

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