Taxpayers spend £500,000 on radios for badger cull marksmen

Hundreds  of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money have been spent on equipping badger cull marksmen with radios that link them directly to police, according to a story on the Guardian website today (Friday 25 August).

The government was apparently asked by the police to equip the cull marksmen with the same communications system they use to make it easier for officers to reach any conflicts with saboteurs in remote areas where there is often no mobile signal. 

Government figures have revealed that between 2016 and this year Defra paid almost £500,000 to Airwave, the company that provides the emergency services with communications equipment. Defra confirmed the equipment was provided to those taking part in the culls.

The Guardian article, by Steven Morris and Patrick Barkham, reports that activists plan to "turn the tables on the marksmen" by investing in devices that trace the signals produced by the radios, so that they can pinpoint their position and disrupt shooting.

Protesters are also planning to use infra-red night vision on drones to hunt for marksmen and badgers caught in traps.

Jay Tiernan of Stop the Cull said it would invest in detectors that pick up Airwave signals in order to disrupt shooting.

Natural England, meanwhile, has refused to release data showing the impact of the cull on other species, despite being ordered to do so last month by the Information Commissioner's Office, saying it will enable activists to identify cull zones more easily.

You can read the full story here.