AN area in the Malvern Hills has been selected to pilot a badger cull in the autumn, the Government has announced.

The exact area has not been announced due to concerns over animal rights protests.

It forms part of an area comprising the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury, and parts of Wychavon and West Gloucestershire Six-week trials will test the shooting of free-running badgers as part of efforts to tackle TB in cattle, a disease which ministers say will cost taxpayers about £1 billion over the next 10 years if not dealt with.

The pilot, which will include another area in west Somerset, will be paid for by farmers and will test how safe, humane and effective “controlled shooting” of badgers is.