Bovine TB 2018: comment on a badger control licence application or expression of interest

Closes 19 Mar 2018

Opened 5 Mar 2018


Natural England has received applications or expressions of interest for a Badger Disease Control Licence within the counties of Avon, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire & Warwickshire.


Why We Are Consulting

Following Defra’s Guidance to Natural England, the OTC allows the public to comment on any licence applications made regarding potential impacts the cull may have on their livelihood or daily activities. If Natural England considers there could be an impact to a livelihood or daily activity based on the comment made, which is not already covered by the licensing criteria, we will send the comment to the applicant. The applicant can then put in place appropriate mitigation measures.

The Opportunity to Comment (OTC) is not to be used to declare views for or against the Bovine TB policy. If your comment is not regarding impacts to your livelihood or daily activities, you should contact the relevant authority, DEFRA. You can write to them directly: or visit their website for other methods of contact. 

Please read the following thoroughly before completing the survey. If your comment is not related to an impact on your livelihood or daily activity locally (within a county), Natural England will not consider your comment as relevant to any application being considered.

A summary of the responses will be published on GOV.UK.

Your comment

Natural England will consider any impacts on livelihoods and daily activities that are relevant to the applications and/or expressions of interest and may share this information with the relevant applicant, based upon your postcode or specific point of interest. This is to allow the relevant applicant to consider appropriate mitigation measures, before completing their licence application. 

In specific circumstances, the applicant may need to contact respondents to discuss the impacts raised through the opportunity to comment process. If you do not provide contact details or do not agree to Natural England supplying your contact details to the applicant, you will not be contacted.

Public safety/Recreational Activities e.g. dog walking

Public safety is of paramount concern to Natural England and the applicants. Badger control will take place on land with the landholder’s knowledge and permission. The company must also work closely with their local Police authority to satisfy Natural England that it is putting appropriate mitigation measures in place regarding firearms and security training.

It is possible that badger control will be undertaken on parcels of land that are near to or adjoining public rights of way, roads and dwellings.  Natural England appreciates the concern that this could cause to individuals in the immediate vicinity but can assure the public that all persons licensed to control badgers will be in possession of Police-issued Firearm Certificates and/or Shotgun Certificates and will have a responsibility to ensure that shooting is conducted in a safe direction with a suitable earth backstop. Although licensed badger control has been conducted since 2013, covering over fifty cull operations there have been no safety related incidents.

As such, comments and concerns regarding the safety of walking, riding, working and/or surveying in areas of a licensed cull will not be forwarded to the applicant.

Culling on your land

All badger control and vaccination approved under licence will only take place on land with the landowner/occupier’s permission and land will only be entered onto if prior access has been agreed.

Location of the cull

Natural England will not release maps nor other information revealing the positions of the boundaries for each cull area. We appreciate your reasons for wanting to know the exact locations where licensed operations will take place, however we are unable to release exact details of any control areas, individual land holdings or participants because of concerns for public safety and data protection legislation.

The culling of badgers is a sensitive issue and we are withholding this information, along with the names of those participating, on the basis that publication may cause unnecessary or unjustified distress or damage to the individuals or communities within those boundaries; and may increase the likelihood of groups opposed to the policy disrupting control activity. 

Impacts on your business and/or livelihood

There is no evidence to date, that any of the previous culls in existing areas have had a negative impact on local tourism and business. Culling will only take place over a short, set period during the year in each of the four licensed years. However, if you still feel you may be affected, please use this survey to write to Natural England regarding how your business could be affected by badger control in your county. Please be specific as to how your business could be affected.

Ecological concerns


Natural England aims to ensure that culling will “not be detrimental to the survival of the badger population concerned” within the meaning of Article 9 of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Minimum badger numbers to be culled have been set to remove at least 70% of the true population. The 70% target is derived from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) where it was estimated that the culls achieved a mean of 70% control of the starting populations across the 10 areas, which resulted in disease reduction benefits for the cattle herds in those areas.

Numbers of badgers culled are monitored throughout the licensed period to ensure the maximum number set is not exceeded. More detail on how numbers are calculated can be found here:

Natural England undertakes screening and Habitat Regulation Assessments on all UK and European designated sites which may be affected by the activities associated with a proposed badger control licence.  This will determine the risk of any negative impacts towards the protected features of interest.  Where there is deemed a potential risk, measures will be put in place to either avoid the site or mitigate any potential effects.


Reasonable biosecurity measures are being, and for the duration of any licence will continue to be, implemented by participating farmers on their land to provide a strong protection against the spread of infection. For this purpose ‘reasonable measures’ means measures that in the particular circumstances are practicable, proportionate and appropriate, having regard to the Bovine TB Biosecurity Five-Point Plan. This includes companies working with local veterinary practices to make sure cattle farmers are provided with adequate information on biosecurity measures they can take to protect their cattle from contact with wildlife if movement of badgers does occur.

If farmers would like to find out more about biosecurity measures, please visit the TB Hub website where you can also see the Five-Point Plan:

Badger Vaccination

Natural England fully supports the government’s determination to eradicate bovine TB and achieve bTB-free status in England.  The Government’s bTB Eradication plan is a risk-based, multi-faceted approach to tackling the disease in cattle and wildlife.  The strategy includes a package of measures including cattle biosecurity, movement controls and badger vaccination in areas where TB is widespread.

There is a new Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme (BEVS 2) which provides funding towards the cost of vaccinating badgers in the Edge Area of England with BCG vaccine for four years. Vaccination may be used independently of culling as part of a package of measures to prevent or control TB, or it may be used in combination with culling. For more information regarding badger vaccination or if you wish to contact DEFRA regarding badger vaccination, please visit the DEFRA website:

Who performs the controlled shooting and cage trapping

Those carrying out the work must have completed government-approved training (which includes competency based assessments on firearms handling, safety and marksmanship) to enable them to control badgers humanely and safely. To review the Best Practice Guides for either cage trapping and dispatch and/or controlled shooting please click on the relevant names to be directed to the webpage. They must be thoroughly familiar with the terrain, carry out visits during daylight hours to check the area and identify safe shooting locations.

Please click the link below to complete the survey.


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