All options need to be explored to help families

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Their frustration is entirely understandable.

For nearly two long years, residents of a road in Gosport have had to put up with the consequences of badgers living in their midst.

Caroline Haywood says one of them has shifted two tonnes of earth from under her patio and shed, causing them to sink.

Meanwhile her neighbour in Palmyra Road, Becky Pascoe, has been left with a mound of earth, a deep hole and a garage with part of the roof fallen in.

Becky only moved into the house in March and is now worried about the safety of her three young children. But she says she has been told she is not even allowed to put a small fence around the hole.

The problem in all of this is that badgers are a protected species – and, as such, their welfare takes precedence.

So much so that, apparently, the RSPCA has told Becky that she could be fined if she does anything to alter the badgers’ habitat.

We accept that there needs to be legislation to give protection to wild animals. But isn’t there a compromise that can be reached when they so obviously impinge on people’s lives and expose children to potential danger?

Caroline told The News that she has applied for a licence from Natural England to get the badgers removed.

But she has been told that, even if an alternative sett could be found, she could have to pay between £3,000 and £5,000.

Coming up with that kind of money is clearly unrealistic for the average family. So those living in Palmyra Road are left feeling helpless as the badgers continue to do damage to their property.

Of course, humans must live with nature and cannot always expect their needs to come first.

But in this case, we believe all options should be explored in an effort to help families who are clearly suffering some major problems that are affecting their quality of life.

The difficulty is that those options are extremely limited – because even if the badgers were rehomed, then people in that area would soon become targets too.