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Anti-cull campaigners begin patrols

Badger cull expected to resume tonight Credit: PA

People fighting the resumption of the badger cull began patrolling last night in West Somerset because they believe the cull is imminent.

There was no sign of culling activity, but reports are growing that the cull is due to begin tonight.

Anti-cull campaigners gathered last night expecting the badger cull to resume Credit: Somerset Against the Badger Cull

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Badger cull challenge rejected

The High Court says the latest badger cull can go ahead without monitoring by independent experts

The High Court has rejected an 11th-hour challenge to a Government decision to let the latest badger cull go ahead without monitoring by a panel of independent experts.

The Badger Trust wanted a ruling to block "controlled shooting" of free-roaming badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset unless a panel is put in place.

But Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, sitting in London, today dismissed the application for judicial review.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is testing whether the shooting method can be rolled out to other parts of the country to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.

Last year an independent expert panel (IEP) said in a report on the first year of the four-year pilot schemes that controlled shooting could not deliver the level of culling needed to bring about a reduction in bovine TB and was not humane.

Badger cull protestors gather at High Court

Badger cull protestors outside the High Court today Credit: ITV News West Country

Campaigners have gathered outside the High Court in London today for another hearing about the Government's badger cull.

The Badger Trust is seeking a ruling that there has been a failure to install an independent panel of experts to monitor this year's pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset. The culls are taking place to try to stop the spread of TB in cattle.

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Government commits to badger culls in West Country

Badger Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Badger culls will go ahead as planned this autumn in Somerset and Gloucestershire as the Government affirms its committment to tackling the spread of TB in cattle. It says it can improve on last year's pilot culls whihc failed to meet targets.

Plans being considerd include increasing assessments on farm security to prevent badgers mixing with cattle and accessing feed, plus making it mandatory for all farmers to disclose their TB history to buyers.

Owen Paterson loses job in reshuffle

Owen Paterson (centre) visiting Northmoor Pumping Station in Somerset. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has lost his job in David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle.

The Conservative minister came under intense pressure, following his handling of the flooding on the Somerset levels, and also received criticism for the horsemeat scandal andthe unsuccessful badger culls.

Prospective MP stands down from Frome contest

The Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome has announced she has stepped down from the race to take over from David Heath as MP for Somerton and Frome.

In a letter sent out today, Sarah Yong said:-

I just wanted to let you know that it is with great regret that I've decided to stand down from my role as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Somerton and Frome.

"I have made this decision for personal reasons and as a result of changes in personal circumstances.

"It's a decision I've not taken lightly, and it's one I take with a heavy heart.

"I would have loved to have followed in David Heath's footsteps as the MP for Somerton and Frome.

– Sarah Yong
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