The cull was delayed after farmers said they may not be able to kill enough of the wild animals to make the scheme effective.
It had also emerged there were more badgers in the cull areas in Somerset and Gloucestershire than previously estimated, meaning that more would have to be killed to meet the 70% target needed for the programme to be effective.
More top news
Inflation fell from 3.1% in November, to 3% in the last month of 2017.
Wintry scenes with rain, sleet & snow