Bovine TB Policy in England

The Government is committed to implementing its 25-year strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England. The Strategy was published in 2014 and includes tighter cattle measures, vaccination and badger culling.

Bovine TB Risk Areas in England

As part of the Strategy there are three management areas (TB risk areas) in England, reflecting regional variations in the epidemiology of the disease: the High Risk Area (HRA); the Edge Area; and the Low Risk Area (LRA). The long-term objective is to achieve officially TB free (OTF) status for the whole of England, with an interim objective of securing OTF status for the LRA and the lowest prevalence counties in the Edge Area. To achieve this, disease control is constructed around controlling all routes of transmission of the disease, cattle-cattle, cattle-badger, badger-badger and badger-cattle as well as spill-over into other susceptible species.

Access the interactive map of the three risk areas on the TB hub

The Government’s approach includes a range of disease surveillance and control interventions, both statutory and non-statutory.

Current statutory controls include routine surveillance testing of cattle herds and at slaughter, pre-movement testing, removal of TB test reactors and other cattle suspected of being infected with TB, and additional measures in TB breakdown herds such as movement restrictions and use of more sensitive tests.

Non-statutory controls include a range of measures designed to reduce the likelihood of introducing infection into cattle herds. These include: post-movement testing in the LRA; biosecurity measures on farms against both cattle-cattle and badger-cattle transmission; badger culling; and the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme to promote injectable vaccination of badgers against TB in the Edge Area.

TB Strategy Review

In February 2018 Defra’s Secretary of State commissioned an independent review of its bovine TB Strategy. The review was led and overseen by Professor Sir Charles Godfray supported by a small working group. The review took place during spring and summer 2018 and reported to Ministers in October 2018.

Defra is considering all of the options presented in the review report, and a Government response will be published in due course.

The review report can be accessed on gov.uk

Changes to bovine TB controls in England

Information about new TB control measures can be found by accessing the links on the left hand menu.

Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme

In early 2018 Defra received a number of applications for grants under the ‘Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme’ to carry out badger vaccination in the Edge Area of England. Three applicants were successful. Defra reopened the application window for more bids until January 25 2019. The projects will receive at least 50% funding towards their eligible costs. The scheme aims to create a protected badger population between the High Risk and Low Risk Areas of England, and to prevent further spread of the disease.

The new season for vaccination of badgers begins on 1 May 2019.