The estimated total cost of policing the badger cull in Gloucestershire is £1.7m, according to the county’s police and crime commissioner.
Martin Surl confirmed the estimate on his Twitter account on Monday (13 January).
He tweeted: “£1.7m is the ‘estimated’ total cost for policing the whole cull in Glos – not just the extension period.”
Animal welfare charity Care for The Wild has estimated the total cost of policing the culls across both counties – Somerset and Gloucestershire – in year one of the four-year pilots at £2.66m.
The charity has also estimated the cull cost £4,177 for each badger killed.
DEFRA said official figures confirming the cost of the pilots had “not been calculated and fully verified” and would be revealed at a later date.
However, it admitted that “significant” police resources were likely to have been spent on responding to a widespread campaign of criminality and intimidation perpetrated by a “handful of individuals”.
Gloucestershire Police said 38 people were arrested during the cull, of which 15 were arrested during the six-week trial and 23 during the eight-week extension.
The NFU said policing costs would have been much lower if marksmen had been allowed to go about their lawful business without having their activities disrupted by protesters.
An independent panel of wildlife experts has been appointed to report back to ministers on the badger culling pilots. Their findings will inform the government’s decision over whether the culls should be rolled out to a further 10 areas this year.
A DEFRA spokesman said: “The costs of the badger cull pilots are vastly outweighed by the impact bovine TB is having on our farming industry and taxpayers.
“Each bovine TB cattle outbreak costs an average of £34,000, and if left unchecked this disease will cost the taxpayer £1bn over the next 10 years.”
Bovine TB and the badger cull