Badger control measures authorised in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset
Natural England confirmed that all the criteria have been met to allow the second of four years of badger culling to start in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset, to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
Operations in these areas where TB is rife will be carried out under the existing four-year licences which allow six weeks of culling to take place every year between 1 June and 31 January*. Start dates for culling activity will be decided by the licensed companies.
Under the terms of the authorisation letters, licensees have been set a minimum number of badgers to be removed – these are 615 in Gloucestershire and 316 in Somerset. A maximum number of badgers has also been set (1091 in Gloucestershire, 785 in Somerset) to safeguard the local populations.
The minimum and maximum numbers are based on the estimates of the badger populations in 2013 set out in the Independent Expert Panel’s report, and the new evidence we have of badger activity on the ground in 2014.
In light of the advice provided by the Independent Expert Panel regarding the significant difficulties in achieving accurate estimates of badger populations, Natural England will keep the minimum number under review and will, if appropriate, provide further advice on the level of culling effort and badger removal required to achieve an effective cull.
Natural England has worked closely together with Defra and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) to develop a robust monitoring regime for this year’s culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
A Government-approved training programme has been put in place to improve shooting accuracy. Natural England will monitor controlled shooting through field observations to record accuracy in 60 cases.
Vets from AHVLA will carry out post-mortem examinations on at least 60 randomly-selected badgers from each cull area to assess accuracy of controlled shooting. These measures have been put in place to implement the recommendations made by the Independent Experts Panel following last year’s pilots.
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
Guidance to Natural England (specifies the criteria Natural England need to take account of in developing and issuing licences)
Controlled shooting: 1 Feb – 31 May
Cage-trapping and shooting: 1 December – 31 May
Cage-trapping and vaccination: 1 December - 30 April
For information on best practice guidance, monitoring and numbers go to www.gov.uk/defra
Follow us on Twitter: @naturalengland
Latest News from
Hen Harrier Breeding Success31/07/2018 15:56:11
34 chicks have fledged in the most successful Hen Harrier breeding season in years.
New Countryside Code launched to help people enjoy the outdoors01/04/2021 12:12:00
The new Code allows people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits that nature offers, while giving it the respect it deserves.
New homes for people and wildlife across the North East18/03/2021 15:43:00
Greener building and conserving wildlife goes hand in hand in the North East as a new approach to sustainable development is launched.
Consultation on habitat restoration project for Hoveton Great Broad10/03/2021 16:22:00
Members of the public can have their say on an application to place fish-proof barriers at Hoveton Great Broad, Norfolk, as part of a restoration project.
New £10 million fund to drive private sector investment in nature11/02/2021 09:29:00
New fund will provide grants of up to £100,000 to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses & other organisations
Natural England Chair welcomes Dasgupta Review03/02/2021 14:15:00
Tony Juniper hails Review a significant milestone in recognising the vital roles played by healthy natural systems.
Natural England announces major extension to the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve to mark World Wetlands Day02/02/2021 15:43:00
Natural England, in collaboration with the Carstairs Countryside Trust (CCT) yesterday announced multiple extensions to the internationally important Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve (NNR) near York.
England’s ‘national rainforests’ to be protected by new rules01/02/2021 09:27:00
Legislation will be brought forward to prevent the burning of heather and other vegetation on protected blanket bog habitats.