Badger culls in England are to be phased out after a breakthrough in developing a bovine TB vaccine for cattle.

Defra, the environment department, said trials of a vaccine will take place over the next five years, and there are plans to vaccinate more badgers.

A previous trial of badger vaccination by the Welsh Government was brought to an end due to a global shortage of vaccine in 2015 but was restarted in selected areas in 2018.

In England the first badger cull zones were created in 2013 in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

In September, badger culling was extended to 40 areas including Bristol, Cheshire, Devon, Cornwall, Staffordshire, Dorset, Herefordshire and Wiltshire.

Farmers said it was necessary to control the disease that devastates the beef and dairy industries, while the government claimed it had led to reductions in the incidence of TB.

Now Defra plans to gradually phase out "intensive culling" following a breakthrough by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha).

Previously it was not possible to vaccinate cattle as tests for the disease could not differentiate between vaccinated animals and those infected by bovine TB, but Apha has developed an "effective" test which can be trialled alongside the BCG.