To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many landowners in each designated area (a) were requested to take part in, (b) took part in and (c) refused to take part in the bovine TB vaccination programme for badgers; and what financial incentives are available to land owners to encourage them to participate in the programme.
The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) are currently in the process of signing up landowners in the project catchment areas. Fera are inviting all registered cattle owners in the six 75,000 acre catchment areas to register their interest with the aim of identifying potential participants on up to 25,000 acres of land on which to vaccinate badgers. Therefore not all farmers within the catchment areas will be able to participate in the project.
This is an ongoing process and Fera have not yet completed the process of writing to all cattle owners in the catchment areas. However, the response so far has been encouraging with 255 landowners responding positively.
The following table sets out the responses we have received from the landowners we have approached so far, and is correct as of
|Catchment area||Number of letters sent to farmers||Information and registration meeting held in area||Number of positive responses to date||Number of negative responses to date|
|Staffordshire: Centred on Eccleshall||420 sent 16 October 2009||Meeting confirmed||89||0|
|Herefordshire/Worcestershire: East of Tenbury Wells||248 sent 23 October 2009||Meeting confirmed||27||0|
|Gloucestershire: Cotswold north east of Cheltenham||106 sent 28 September 2009||Yes||32||0|
|Gloucestershire: North west of Stroud||(1)259 sent 28 September 2009||Yes||106||9|
|Devon: West of Tiverton||To be sent||Meeting confirmed||1||0|
|Devon: South east of Tiverton||To be sent||Meeting confirmed||0||0|
|(1) Letters and visits to landowners. |
The table was provided by Fera.
There are no financial incentives available to farmers to encourage participation. The project is free for farmers to participate and they do not have to take any action themselves other than grant access to their land. Participating farmers will also potentially reduce the risk of transmission from badgers to their cattle.