BADGER culling will be banned on council land across the conurbation after a motion was unanimously supported by councillors.

The cull was introduced by the government in England in 2013 in a bid to reduce the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis (TB).

Licences were first issued in Dorset in 2015 with more than 500 animals killed in the county last year.

A motion put forward by former BCP Council leader Cllr Vikki Slade was backed by all members at a full council meeting this week.

Alongside the ban on land owned by the local authority, councillors voted for offers of access to land to be made to Dorset Wildlife Trust, Badger Trust and other professionals to land for the purpose of badger vaccination.

The local authority will also work with landowners and farmers on promoting biosecurity measures to prevent transmission. Meanwhile, environment portfolio holder Cllr Mark Anderson will write to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to call for an acceleration of research into alternatives to control TB in cattle.

A ban was already in force for Poole through the former borough council and now the policy will also apply to Bournemouth and Christchurch.

Councillor Slade said: “Whilst much of the badger culling takes place outside of the conurbation, there are areas, particularly to the north, where it is possible for badgers to be shot.

“The vast majority of badgers that are culled each year are shot, in open ground. That means that there is no knowledge about whether those badgers are actually carrying the disease. It can actually cause badgers to flee, and diseased badgers then spreading it to other areas. Badgers that are then killed are not tested, post mortem to see whether they did have the disease.

“And the evidence suggests that the incidence of transmission between badgers and cattle has not significantly fallen in the areas where the badger culls have been taking place - such that the EU are actually prosecuting the UK for their failure to conduct the badger cull in a humane way.”

She said Defra confirmed it was phasing out the cull, but the Liberal Democrat councillor added that it was “clearly not a priority at the moment”.

“And we are seeing between five and eight hundred badgers killed each year, with no evidence that they were carrying the disease, and no significant impact upon the health of cattle, said Cllr Slade. “There are now vaccinations available for cattle.

“The badger cull has been found to be cruel and inhumane, with 80 per cent of badgers taking more than five minutes to die. It’s not appropriate in the 21st century that we should be enabling this kind of thing on their land.”

Councillor Anderson said he supported the motion, while it was seconded by Green Party member Chris Rigby.

Speaking after the vote, Cllr Rigby said: “I was pleased to learn during the meeting that we have badgers living in Queen’s Park and Kings Park. I’ve not seen the evidence myself, so I’m going to take a bit of an explore this weekend to see if I can find any evidence of sets.”