On this page
(13 January 2014) Potential applicants for badger control licences in 2014 onwards should now begin to prepare information for the Expression of Interest (EOI) process.
(11 October 2013) Natural England confirmed that criteria have been met to allow control of badgers to continue under licence in west Somerset 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.
A public opportunity to comment on the pilot badger control licence applications in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset took place in 2012. An opportunity to comment on the Dorset reserve pilot area also took place in 2013. A summary of responses 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: