According to the Farmers Guardian Jim Paice has warned farmers planning to sign up sign up to local badger cull policies in England that there is virtually no prospect the areas will be kept secret.
The NFU and National Beef Association are in ongoing discussions with Natural England to ensure as little information as possible is released about the precise location of the areas where culling will take place.
Natural England will be responsible for issuing badger cull licences to groups of farmers.
“Natural England is required by law in each area to consult the public. We are in discussion with them about how precise the boundaries on those maps need to be,” said Mr Paice.
“But I have to say as a countryman myself that once these trials are underway, the grapevince will work and I don’t think it will be possible to keep it secret.
“I am afraid farmers will have to take that into consideration when they decide whether to sign up. I don’t think there is anything more we can do in reality,” he told journalists, adding that he hopes this does not deter farmers from signing up.
Shadow Defra Secretary Mary Creagh seized on the comments.
“The costs of the police operation per cull area will be £2 million,” she said.