An application to extend the Gloucestershire badger cull has been submitted after marksmen failed to remove sufficient numbers of badger from the local population. Instead of culling 70% of badgers, they managed just 30% during the six-week trial.

The Gloucestershire cull was expected to kill 1,650 badgers but, according to Defra, only 708 were culled.

“We must remember that these are pilots,” said Owen Paterson. “This has not been done before and we are learning, clearly, in each area. This isn’t a sudden six-week period. These pilots are intended to go on for four years.”

Paterson added: “I would like to pay tribute to the local farmers and landowners who are undertaking the cull, often in difficult terrain and weather, and often in the face of intimidation by a small minority who are determined to stop this disease control policy.”