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(26 August 2014) - Authorisation for the resumption of badger control measures in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset given.
(3 April 2014) - Following the Defra announcement on badger control in 2014: further details about Expressions of Interest, new and existing licences now available.
(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.
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. Badger control activity took place in the two pilot areas in 2013. Natural England have issued letters authorising the resumption of badger control measures in the two pilots areas in 2014 and a start date for culling activity will be decided by the cull companies.
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.
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.
In 2013 Dorset was selected to be a reserve pilot area, but following the Government’s announcement in April 2014, badger control will no longer be rolled out in Dorset or any other areas in 2014.
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: