In May 2020, the government launched a public consultation on proposals to manage the delivery of both badger vaccination and culling in counties in the Edge Areas (EA).
Whilst this consultation was primarily about allowing culling adjacent to land where badgers have been vaccinated in these Edge Areas, it will also formulate policy which will also affect Somerset and the rest of the counties in the High Risk Areas (HRA).
These counties fall between the High Risk Area (HRA) of western England and the Midlands and the Low Risk Area (LRA) of eastern and northern England.
The proposal to allow both badger vaccination and badger culling in the same areas poses serious concerns.
The major problem being that badgers vaccinated at taxpayers’ expense, could be at risk of being culled later in the year. This goes directly against the Government’s stated policy of moving towards non-lethal controls by phasing out culling and supporting badger vaccination.
The government concedes that
“the Guidance to Natural England on licensed badger control does not go into detail on how vaccination and culling should be deployed in a complementary manner, particularly when taking place on adjacent land.
In order to address how deployment of both culling and vaccination in the Edge Area of England should be managed, the Guidance to NE needs to be updated.”