Cull costs spiral – but Defra will pay

061Following criticism about what the cost to the taxpayer would be of the badger cull, it has now come under scrutiny from the tourism industry.

Visit Somerset announced that people would avoid the area during the pilot cull, serving to reduce tourism and the income received from it.

According to the tourism organisation, people have contacted it expressing concerns regarding how safe it will be to holiday there during the cull.

Bridgwater and West Somerset Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger was swift to respond to these remarks.

He said: “Statistically speaking, people are far more likely to be shot in London than they are in Somerset.

“Shooting goes on all the year round down here …No member of the public, to the best of my knowledge and belief, has ever been caught up in the crossfire.”

Furthermore, a large part of the issue of the monetary cost of the badger cull has been taken care of by Defra.

The government department has said it will foot the bill for additional policing costs incurred by the pilot badger culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

A spokesperson said costs that arise from police officers working beyond their normal duties will be met by Defra.

This includes paying for staff from neighbouring forces to help police the areas during the cull. After the six week trial cull, the police forces will invoice Defra with the bill.

A government spokesman added: “It’s all systems go as far as the badger cull is concerned. Everything is still planned to go ahead this summer.”

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