Hastings group’s petition against Natural England

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An environmental group has set up an online petition against a government body.

Hastings Badger Protection Society says Natural England is currently able to grant permission for individuals to have a license to interfere with protected species.

The group believes this is harming wildlife and wants the powers removed. More than 1,700 people have so far signed the petition.

Don Wise, from the society, said: “Wildlife habitats are essential to humans’ wellbeing. But Natural England is actively destroying whole populations of wildlife and habitat with its lack of monitoring. The cruelty that is taking place to all our protected species and wildlife must stop.

“Badgers are the only animal that destroys thousands of terrestrial wasp nests each year and being omnivorous clear up many more harmful pests to humans. But Natural England has issued eclusion licenses without the legal safeguards in place.”

Under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, Natural England is granted powers to issue wildlife licences on behalf of the Secretary of State. It receives guidance on licensing criteria from Defra.

A Defra spokesman said: “England has the highest incidence of TB in Europe and that is why we are taking strong action to deliver our 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries.

“Badger control in areas where TB is rife is one part of our long-term plan, which also includes strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, improving biosecurity on farm and when trading, and badger vaccination when possible.

“This comprehensive approach has worked overseas and is supported by the Government and Defra chief scientists and leading vets.”

To go to the online petition click here.

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