Council starts badger vaccination programme in Northwich Woodlands

19 September 2019

Cheshire West and Chester Council has started the first phase of a four year badger vaccination programme to cut the transmission and spread of tuberculosis (TB) in the badger population, with the intention of reducing the risk of cattle contracting the disease.

Previously the Council resolved not to support the culling of badgers on council-owned land and to support a badger vaccination programme instead, one of the first councils in the country to do so. 

In the first phase of the programme badgers have been vaccinated across the Northwich Woodlands, including in Marbury Park and in Anderton Country Park. The programme will now focus on vaccinating badgers on private land, including farmland, covering a total  area of around 17 km² in the first year. Next year the vaccination area will expand to about 32 km² and the Council will consider whether to extend the area further in the third year.

Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport: “Bovine TB (bTB) can have a devastating effect on the farming community in Cheshire.  By contributing to the local control of bTB in cattle by creating immunity in a population of badgers in the borough, local farmers will be supported and badgers protected.

“We know that badger vaccination is effective, resulting in a 74% reduction in the proportion of wild badgers testing positive to a blood test for bTB.  During this process officers have been in contact with farmers and landowners in the vaccination area and have received a very positive response.”

The full programme will cost the Council around £48,000, with match funding provided by Defra.  The vaccine is administered by trained volunteers from Cheshire Badger Vaccination Programme (CBVP), who are working in partnership with the Council to deliver the planned vaccination programme.  Volunteers from Northwich Woodlands including Marbury Park have assisted with the vaccinations.

Elaine Alexander from CBVP said: “CBVP is very pleased that Cheshire West has taken such a proactive stance on badger vaccination. It’s very positive that the Council is supporting local farmers in this way and offering vaccination free of charge.”

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