THE first licence permitting badger culling in a bid to tackle tubercolosis in cattle has been issued.

Natural England issued the four-year licence for west Gloucestershire and the pilot could start within weeks.

The Government says the cull is needed to help stop the rise of TB in cattle.

The chief executive of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Dr Gordon McGlone, said they were disappointed with the decision. “We accept it will be legal and legitimate and will not condone any disruptive tactics,” he said. “If the pilot is deemed to be successful it’s very likely that there will be at least one and possibly two other culls in Gloucestershire and in the Cotswolds.”

A legal bid to prevent the cull taking place was lost by the Badger Trust last week