controversial order for a badger cull is expected to be amended following
an appeal hearing last week.
The Badger Trust questioned why the order related to the whole of Wales,
rather than just the cull pilot area in part of south-west Wales.
Rural affairs minister Elin Jones said the all-Wales clause was only included
in case a cull or vaccination was needed elsewhere in future.
She is expected to offer to amend the order to include only the pilot area.
The Badger Trust had appealed against the assembly government plans to cull
badgers as part of a raft of measures to stop TB being spread in cattle.
The trust disputes a cull would make any difference to the spread of bovine
It argued at the Court of Appeal that the assembly government and the minister
had not shown that a cull would "eliminate or substantially reduce" the rate
of TB infection.
The trust also said ministers had a duty to weigh the harm to the badger
population against the possible benefits to farmers, but had not done so.
Lord Justice Pill also suggested the Badger Trust could offer a third ground
to oppose the cull.
That was in relation to the eradication order relating to the whole of Wales,
rather than just the pilot area of north Pembrokeshire and a small part of
Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
The exact location of the proposed cull has not been announced Rural affairs
minister Elin Jones said on Monday the assembly government had "agreed to
address this third ground of appeal in order to satisfy the court".
She said: "We have evidence that there is a bovine TB reservoir in badgers
in TB endemic areas in Wales.
"I have also said repeatedly that there are no circumstances in which we
would cull badgers across Wales in areas where there is no evidence that
there is a bovine TB reservoir in wildlife.
"Therefore we have agreed to address this third ground of appeal in order
to satisfy the court.
"We await the court's judgement on grounds one and two and we remain committed
to fully implementing our TB eradication programme.
"In relation to the removal of badgers all contractual arrangements are in
place, as we were prepared to begin the work next week subject to the decision
of the Court of Appeal.
"While we consider our next steps and the views of the Court of Appeal, our
contractors will remain in a position where they are ready to begin the work
as soon as this is possible."
She said the assembly government would continue to work with the communities
affected to "address any concerns and to answer any questions that may arise
in relation to the TB eradication programme".
At least 1,500 badgers could be killed during the five-year
The result of the appeal against the outcome of the judicial review is expected
The Badger Trust's solicitor, Gwendolen Morgan of Bindmans LLP, said: "The
key issue here is that the proposed badger cull is stopped in its tracks.
The Badger Trust is pleased that sense has prevailed.
"Whilst we await the Court of Appeal's reasoned judgment, we are pleased
that the court commented on the importance of protecting badgers in the course
of the appeal hearing last week. Overall, it is a good day for badgers."