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Own goal: Government considering badger cull in new areas where they have funded successful vaccination programmes - The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts call for national badger vaccination programme to help combat bTB as an alternative to culling.

The government is due to announce a new round of badger culls in England and is considering new cull areas where they have been paying for successful badger vaccination programmes. The government’s advisor, Natural England, is said to have received 14 applications from prospective culling companies to cull badgers in ‘high risk’ (of bovine tuberculosis - bTB) and ‘edge area’ counties of England. It can approve 10 of these areas. This would increase the number of cull zones stretching from Cornwall to Cumbria to over 40.

Derbyshire is one of the 14 new areas being considered for a cull zone. Over the last five years, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been running the UK’s largest badger vaccination programme with over 100 volunteers to help stop the spread of bTB in the badger population as an alternative to culling. They have been demonstrating that there is a humane way to tackle bTB that is cheaper per badger than culling.  Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has had £280,000 worth of government funding from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) towards this work - yet the government is still considering applications to bring the cull to Derbyshire.

Ellie Brodie, Senior Policy Manager, The Wildlife Trusts says: “It is unacceptable that the government is planning to forge ahead with another year of ineffective and expensive badger culling. It is absurd that the government are paying to protect badgers through vaccinating them, while also considering applications to kill them, as they are in Derbyshire. The badger cull is a dangerous distraction from addressing the main route of bTB transmission in cattle which is between cattle – as the findings from their own independent review has confirmed.”

 

Lanarkshire biodiversity projects share £237k Nature Fund cash - Scottish Natural Heritage

Two Lanarkshire projects will share £237,000 to create high quality urban green spaces for both people and wildlife. The projects are among the recipients of Scottish Natural Heritage’s (SNH’s) Biodiversity Challenge Fund.

The Lanarkshire biodiversity projects share £237k Nature Fund cash: Toads © Lorne Gill SNHIn North Lanarkshire the Seven Lochs Partnership will develop green corridors for wildlife and attractive, species-rich places for people with an £80k award; and Buglife’s Central Scotland B-Lines project will use its £157k to create a coast-to-coast network of special places for nature, with South Lanarkshire at its heart.

The Lanarkshire biodiversity projects share £237k Nature Fund cash: Toads © Lorne Gill SNH

Seven Lochs project will make a large urban habitat network across 21 sites and an area of about 2000 hectares, including new wetlands and grasslands and extending Local Nature Reserves.

A small team of volunteers will be formed – the Species Rich Networks Team (SpRiNT) – and provided with training to carry out specialist habitat creation and management. The project will involve a range of organisations including Glasgow City Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Conservation Volunteers and the Northern Corridor Conservation Volunteers.

Central Scotland B-Lines will create 100 hectares of wildflower habitat across 50 urban sites, connecting East Dunbartonshire, South Lanarkshire, Falkirk and Edinburgh, helping pollinators to move freely through towns and cities. Local community groups will take on ownership of each site. The project includes training in areas such as managing and monitoring of local sites, and how to increase habitat connectivity across the Central Belt.

 

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