§ Lord Houghton of Sowerby
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether it is now the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to grant licences to destroy badgers under Schedule 7 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in order to protect golf courses; and how many licences similar to the one granted to Selsdon Park Hotel Golf Course have been granted to other golf courses since 1981.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)
The Ministry is empowered by the Badgers Act 1973, as amended by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to issue licences in England to kill or take badgers causing serious damage to land, crops, poultry, or any other form of property. Detailed arrangements for the issue of licences have been agreed with the Nature Conservancy Council, and are reviewed regularly.
Each application for a licence is considered on its merits, and the NCC are consulted in every case. A licence will only be issued if all reasonable deterrent measures have first been tried, or are impracticable, and there is no other way of preventing serious damage. Two licences were issued to Selsdon Park Hotel Golf Course for the prevention of serious damage to greens and fairways covering the periods 1st June 1983 to 31st January 1984 and 17th January 1985 to 31st January 1985, but no badgers were taken as a result.
Selsdon Park Hotel Golf Course is the only golf course to have received a licence from the Ministry.