A FIVE-YEAR badger vaccination programme against Bovine TB will be rolled out after councillors firmed up their stance against culling.

Members of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet signed off the plans at a meeting on Wednesday.

It is proposed that vaccination will take place in two belts of countryside in mid Cheshire – with one including Byley.


Cllr Gill Watson, Labour CWAC member for Newton, was chairman of a task group set up to look into how a vaccination scheme could be rolled out.

“Bovine TB costs the UK tens of millions of pounds every year,” she told cabinet.

“By supporting a badger vaccination programme, the council can contribute to a reduction in the incidence of the disease and support its farmers to take positive steps – in addition to existing measures such as movement restrictions.

“The council and the borough now have a window of opportunity to support its farmers by helping to reduce the prevalence of Bovine TB.”

The move follows a decision taken by full council in October 2017 not to support the culling of badgers on land in Cheshire West.

Cllr Watson told cabinet that her task group spoke to volunteers from Derbyshire who have led similar programme, while farmers in mid Cheshire had given a ‘very positive’ reaction to the plans.


She added that vaccination has been found to reduce the number of badgers testing positive for Bovine TB by 74 per cent, and that the programme supports new guidelines from Defra – which now describes the non-lethal control of Bovine TB as ‘highly desirable’.

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “I am delighted we have been able to get this far. This has been going on for quite a while now in the council.

“I look forward to the positive outcomes that will ensue from this course of action.”

CWAC expects to pay £48,000 for the programme over the next five years, while it will submit a funding bid to Defra for another £48,000.

Cllr John Leather, the Conservative group’s shadow cabinet member for environment, also welcomed the move – and requested that an external group monitors the scheme’s success.