Natural England has confirmed that all criteria have been met to allow 11 new badger control licences to be issued to companies. Eight companies met criteria to allow the continuation of their cull in 2017, in the following counties: Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset, Cheshire, Dorset, and Herefordshire Gloucestershire.
Operations in these areas will be carried out under 4-year licences which allow culling to take place every year between 1 June and 31 January (inclusive).
Start dates for culling activity within this period will be decided by the licensed companies.
Natural England has confirmed to licensees the permitted maximum and minimum numbers of badgers that will be subject to control operations.
Defra’s guidance to Natural England, dated July 2017, specifies the criteria Natural England must take account of in developing and issuing licences.
Licences only permit badger control to take place outside of the close seasons:
- controlled shooting – 1 February to 31 May
- cage-trapping and shooting – 1 December to 31 May
- cage-trapping and vaccination – 1 December to 30 April