Natural England has confirmed that all criteria has been met to allow the third of 4 years of badger culling to begin in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset, to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
A 4-year licence has also been issued to a company in Dorset, which has met all criteria to allow badger culling to begin in the area for the first time.
Operations in these areas will be carried out under 4-year licences which allow 6 continuous weeks of culling to take place every year between 1 June and 31 January.
Start dates for culling activity within this period will be decided by the licensed companies.
Under the terms of these licences, licensees have formally advised Natural England:
- that sufficient funds are in place to complete control operations
- the specific dates on which control operations will take place
- details of persons authorised to carry out control activity
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 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
For more information, see Defra’s press release: New proposals to protect livestock from bovine TB.