Natural England - Authorisation of extension to badger control licence in west Gloucestershire

Authorisation of extension to badger control licence in west Gloucestershire

23 October 2013

Natural England has today confirmed it has granted a licence to enable badger culling to be continued in the west Gloucestershire pilot area for eight weeks.

Natural England received an application to extend the cull in west Gloucestershire following confirmation that, during the six-week period covered by the original licence, the licensee had been able to cull 30% of the badger population. The Government’s bovine tuberculosis (bTB) policy seeks to reduce the spread of bTB in cattle through intensive culling over a four-year period to remove at least 70% of the badger population in defined areas. Where numbers fall short of that target licensees are required to present additional proposals to Natural England of how the target can be met.  

In carrying out its licensing role and assessing the new licence application in Gloucestershire, Natural England has had regard to guidance from Government derived from the bTB control policy and supplementary advice from Defra's Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser. This advice concludes that extending the cull would help to reduce the spread of bTB in cattle; failure to extend would raise the risk of increasing bTB through perturbation. 

Under the original licence 708 badgers were culled during a six-week period which ended last week. The new licence: (199kb)pdf document specifies that a minimum number of 540 and a maximum number of 940 badgers can be culled in order to deliver disease control benefits. The new licence runs from today until 18 December inclusive and supplements the original four-year licence granted in October last year. As the close season for cage trapping and shooting begins on 1 December, only controlled shooting will be permitted from 1-18 December. 

Notes to editors:

Licensing criteria

The licensee has formally requested an eight-week extension to culling operations to Natural England and confirmed that:

  • sufficient funds are in place to complete control operations
  • details of persons authorised to carry out control activity remain unchanged
  • details of participants and cull area remain unchanged.

Natural England has confirmed to the licensee:

  • the permitted maximum and minimum numbers of badgers that will be subject to control operations.

Guidance to Natural Englandexternal link (specifies the criteria Natural England need to take account of in developing and issuing licences)

West Gloucestershire letter of authorisation October 2013: (84kb)pdf document.

*Close seasons:

Controlled shooting: 1 Feb – 31 May
Cage-trapping and shooting: 1 December – 31 May
Cage-trapping and vaccination: 1 December - 30 April

Further information

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