Natural England has given the culls final approval, and chosen Dorset as a reserve culling area.
Two pilot badger culls in the Westcountry to tackle TB in cattle are to be delayed until next summer.
A peaceful protest is due to take place in Dunster this evening to voice concerns about the planned badger cull trial
Defra’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Boyd and Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens will be answering questions about the badger cull pilots live on Twitter from 12-1pm today.
They will be answering questions about the science and evidence upon which the policy is based and the Government’s wider approach to tackling the spread of TB in cattle.
You can send Ian and Nigel questions using #askDefra and follow the conversation via the department's Twitter account
Brian May this afternoon celebrated pushing for a Commons debate over a cup of tea in Portcullis House.
In the last hour it has emerged that a debate will take place in the House of Commons next week to discuss the impending badger cull.
It comes as hundreds of people are gathering at Dunster in West Somerset tonight for a big protest against the cull, which is expected to start in the next few days.
The full 6 hour debate will take place on Thursday 25th October after a petition exceeding 100,000 signatures was gathered by Queen guitarist Brian May.
More than 30 leading animal disease experts have urged the Government to reconsider culling badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire. In a letter to the Observer newspaper they say the pilot culls risk increasing the spread of TB in cattle rather than reducing it.
Supporters of the cull say killing the animals is the best way to tackle the disease in the absence of effective vaccines.
Natural England has today issued a licence permitting a badger cull in West Somerset. It is for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis. It covers approximately 250km2 and over 70% of the East Somerset pilot area.
Tracey De Young from the Gloucestershire Police Federation says it's had more complaints about this than any other subject.
Posters warning residents to stay indoors during a badger cull because of the dangers of stray bullets have been branded as scaremongering.
They've been put up in villages near where a pilot badger cull will take place in Gloucestershire.
They warn people to keep their children and pets indoors when the cull starts.
Ken Goodwin reports: