Gove accused of spin over Natural England’s badger cull ‘u-turn’

Natural England has performed a “complete about-turn” over the potential impacts of the badger cull on ground nesting birds, and environment secretary Michael Gove has “attempted to spin” the regulator’s position, according to a claimant in a recent High Court case.

Thomas Langton’s legal challenge was based on a claim that the badger cull is resulting in an increase in the fox population which, in turn, is leading to a greater threat to ground nesting birds. Langton  argued that Natural England must undertake an assessment of the effects of a reduction in badger numbers on protected birds.

As a result, Natural England committed to review the evidence and asked cull companies to provide data on fox culls, as a proxy for understanding bird numbers. If adverse effects were found, the regulator said it would introduce measures to reduce fox numbers to within 2km of protected sites.

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