1. ITV Report

Badger culls to start in June: full statement

Badger populations will be reduced by 70% in pilot areas Photo: PA

Natural England has released the following statement:

Final authorisation of badger control licences in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset

Natural England has today confirmed that all criteria have been met to allow control of badgers to begin in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset, for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Each licence has a four-year term, authorising six-week control operations to be carried out annually between 1 June and 31 January.

Licensees are authorised to reduce badger populations in the two pilot areas by at least 70% and a maximum number of badgers has been specified to prevent the risk of local extinction.

Government has selected Dorset as a reserve pilot area and Natural England will now work to process a licence application. Badger control will only be licensed in this area this year if control operations in West Gloucestershire or West Somerset cannot proceed.