Natural England has licensed and authorised 7 new badger control areas to begin operations in 2021. It has also authorised the licence holders to resume operations in 33 existing badger control areas in 2021. Licence holders met all the criteria specified in Defra’s guidance to Natural England, dated May 2021.

Natural England has reissued the Annex A for 8 licences due to a change to their control areas as licensed in 2019/2020. These areas were 35-Cornwall, 44-Avon, 47-Herefordshire, 50-Shropshire, 51- Somerset, 52-Warwickshire, 53-Wiltshire and 54-Lincolnshire.

It has also reissued the Annex B for all existing licences from area 22 to area 54 (inclusive). This follows a review of the conditions relating to licensed actions on or around protected sites.

Table 1: Badger control areas authorised in 2021

Area number and county Minimum number Maximum number Authorisation date Year of operations
Area 22 – Cornwall 0 1087 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 23 – Devon 910 2229 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 24 – Devon 0 196 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 25 – Devon 156 651 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 26 – Devon 234 748 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 27 – Devon 0 115 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 28 – Devon 30 296 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 29 – Gloucestershire 0 502 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 30 – Somerset 0 1311 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 31 – Staffordshire 773 2893 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 32 – Cumbria N/A N/A 27 August 2021 Year 4
Area 33 – Avon 358 990 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 34 – Cheshire 1397 2237 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 35 – Cornwall 1689 3325 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 36 – Staffordshire 324 871 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 37 – Devon 380 1173 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 38 – Devon 571 1715 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 39 – Dorset 75 508 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 40 – Herefordshire 295 1267 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 41 – Staffordshire 20 479 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 42 – Wiltshire 1420 3950 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 43 – Wiltshire 252 1193 27 August 2021 Year 3
Area 44 – Avon 2613 4050 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 45 – Derbyshire 1758 3218 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 46 – Gloucestershire 556 860 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 47 – Herefordshire 1246 2198 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 48 – Leicestershire 544 933 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 49 – Oxfordshire 833 1412 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 50 – Shropshire 2703 4649 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 51 – Somerset 2632 4167 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 52 – Warwickshire 1450 2442 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 53 – Wiltshire 689 1054 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 54 – Lincolnshire N/A N/A 27 August 2021 Year 2
Area 55 – Shropshire 490 664 27 August 2021 Year 1
Area 56 – Hampshire 1215 1647 27 August 2021 Year 1
Area 57 – Berkshire 359 486 27 August 2021 Year 1
Area 58 – Staffordshire 632 857 27 August 2021 Year 1
Area 59 – Worcestershire 316 429 27 August 2021 Year 1
Area 60 – Shropshire 1478 2004 27 August 2021 Year 1
Area 61 – Oxfordshire 875 1186 27 August 2021 Year 1

Licence holders carry out operations under a 4-year licence. This allows badger control to take place in the licensed control area every year between 1 June and 31 January inclusive.

The licence holder will decide the start date for control operations within this period.

Natural England has confirmed to the licence holders the minimum and maximum numbers of badgers they can remove.

Protected sites listed in the Annex Bs are not necessarily part of any active operations. These can and will only occur on protected sites where the landowner or occupier has granted permission.

The licences only permit badger control to take place outside these closed seasons:

  • controlled shooting – 1 February to 31 May
  • cage-trapping and shooting – 1 December to 31 May

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