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High Court hears challenge to badger culling policy

DATE: 13 Jul 2018

On 9-12 July, the Administrative Court (Cranston J) heard arguments in the case of Langton v (1) Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and (2) Natural England. Mr Langton challenges the government’s decision to issue guidance authorising Natural England to issue licenses, which enable the culling of badgers after the cessation of five year proactive culls (which have formed a part of government policy since 2011) - so-called ’supplementary culling’.

Mr Langton claims that the scientific rationale for culling is based on studies which indicate that the disease control benefits of culling only accrue after culling ceases.  On this basis he claims that the government did not conduct a lawful consultation exercise in respect of the supplementary culling guidance.  He further claims that the guidance was issued in breach of s.10(2)(a) of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, which permits the killing of badgers only for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease.

By way of a conjoined claim, Mr Langton also challenges the decision of Natural England to grant licenses for supplementary and proactive culling on the basis of non-compliance with regulations 61-2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010/490 (the challenge predates the commencement of the 2017 Regulations).

For media coverage please see here and here

Mr Langton is represented by Richard Turney and Ben Fullbrook.