The legal challenge to the Welsh Assembly government’s badger culling trial is set to begin on Monday 22 March.
A judicial review application by the Badger Trust, which insisted that the decision to organise a cull was not backed by scientific evidence, has been listed for an oral hearing before Mr Justice Lloyd-Jones at the High Court in Swansea on 22 and 23 March.
The trial comes just weeks before the cull is scheduled to take place in a 200sq km zone in north Pembrokeshire. The five-year programme, which could start in a fortnight, would see badgers culled on about 350 livestock farms in west Wales.
The trust has challenged the legality of legislation authorising the cull and has asked for it to be quashed. If the judge allows the application, it is likely the main hearing will follow immediately.
As well as the application to overturn the TB Eradication (Wales) Order 2009, the trust had made a formal complaint about the Order under the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.
A preliminary decision is expected by the end of the month.