On this page
Update 9 May 2013 Natural England has launched the opportunity to comment process for the Dorset reserve pilot area. The opportunity to comment will be open for 28 days, from 9 May to 5 June 2013.
On 27 February 2013, Natural England confirmed that all criteria had been met to allow badger control to begin in the pilot areas of west Somerset and west Gloucestershire, for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
Badger control can only take place during the open season – from 1 June. Shooting of free-ranging badgers is not permitted between 1 February to 31 May inclusive. Trapping of badgers for culling is not permitted between 1 December to 31 May inclusive.
Licences were originally issued to the two pilot areas in Autumn 2012, but badger control operations were then postponed, at the request of the NFU, in order to allow farmers to continue their preparations and have the best possible chance of carrying out the cull effectively.
The strict criteria set out in the Government’s bTB policy guidance specifies how control operations to prevent the spread of bTB can be carried out.
The two pilot areas were selected on the basis that they offer the best opportunity to test the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of controlled shooting.
Dorset has been chosen as a reserve pilot area. Natural England is processing this application; however badger control will only take place in the reserve area this year, if control operations in one of the original pilot areas cannot proceed.
No further licences will be issued until an Independent Panel of Experts has evaluated the pilots and taken a decision about whether the badger control policy should be rolled out more widely.
The west Gloucestershire pilot area lies predominantly within the council districts of the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury, and parts lie within the districts of Wychavon, Malvern Hills and the south east part of the county of Herefordshire. The area does not include the area of the public forest estate in the Statutory Forest of Dean.
The west Somerset pilot area predominantly lies within the council district of west Somerset and part lies within the district of Taunton Deane.
The Dorset reserve pilot area lies entirely within the county of Dorset.
Please note that for security reasons we will not publish maps of the pilot areas, nor will individual land holdings or participants be identified.
As part of the badger control licence application process, members of the public are invited to provide information on material impacts that may be relevant to the determination of the Dorset reserve pilot area licence application.
A public opportunity to comment on the pilot badger control licence applications in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset took place and a summary of responses to the opportunity to comment process is available.
Natural England’s bTB enquiry line advisers are also available to help answer any questions you may have about the licensing process.
Natural England’s bTB helpline for licensing and general enquiries: