Judge says Natural England failed to assess impacts of badger cull on birds in SSSIs

A High Court judge has ruled that Natural England failed to properly assess the impacts of badger cull licensing on birds in a number of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI).

The claimant, Tom Langton, an ecological consultant and member of the Badger Trust, brought the case, alleging that, in its consideration of the environmental impact of granting badger cull licences, Natural England’s SSSI citations were unclear and did not include key features such as rare bird species, meaning that the impact of the cull on the birds was not taken into account.

Langton asserted that these flaws led to legal errors in the granting of the badger cull licences in that Natural England failed to have regard to its statutory duties. He presented to the court a sample of 45 SSSIs in which he said Natural England had been deficient in this way.

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