Opportunity to Comment on Supplementary Badger Disease Control Licence applications or expressions of interests

Closed 10 Mar 2023

Opened 20 Feb 2023


Natural England has received applications or expressions of interest for a Supplementary Badger Disease Control Licence within the counties of Herefordshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Avon.

Why your views matter

Following Defra’s Guidance to Natural England, the Opportunity to Comment (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, which is the company applying for a licence, can then put in place appropriate mitigation measures.

We will take account of any representations received after the deadline and before any decision to grant a licence is made which arises from a change in personal circumstances or new local considerations after the deadline. A summary of the responses to this Opportunity to Comment will be published on GOV.UK.


The Opportunity to Comment 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: defra.helpline@defra.gov.uk or visit their website for other methods of contact.


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 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.

If you agree to Natural England supplying your contact details to the licence applicant, in specific circumstances, you may be contacted regarding the issues raised and possible mitigation measures.

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. 

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. 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 generally be forwarded to the applicant since they are considered by Natural England in the licence assessment to ensure adequate mitigation measures are in place.

Culling on your land

All badger control 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 or other information revealing the positions of the boundaries for each cull area. 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 therefore we withhold the personal information of those participating, due to the risk of distress or damage caused by groups opposed to the badger control policy.


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 or business. However, if you still feel you may be affected, please use this survey.

Ecological concerns

Natural England aims to ensure that culling will “not be detrimental to the survival of the badger population concerned” within Article 9 of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. For more information please follow the link.


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 should be implemented by participating farmers on their land to provide protection against the spread of infection. Examples of these measures can be found on the TB hub website, follow the link for more details: https://tbhub.co.uk/biosecurity/protect-your-herd-from-tb/.


In addition, companies are expected to work 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.


Badger Vaccination

The Government’s strategy for achieving bTB-free status in England is a risk-based, multi-faceted approach to tackling the disease in cattle and wildlife.  The strategy contains a package of measures including cattle biosecurity, movement controls and badger vaccination in areas where TB is widespread.

Vaccination may be used independently of culling or in combination with culling as part of a package of measures to prevent or control TB.


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. Click here to review the Best Practice Guides for cage-trapping and dispatch or controlled shooting 


Please click the link below to complete the survey.


What happens next

This consultation is now closed.

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


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