The Badger Trust is taking its battle against the Welsh Assembly badger cull in north Pembrokeshire to the Court of Appeal.

In April the trust lost its judicial review of the cull, with the High Court ruling in favour of the Welsh Assembly Government that the cull was lawful.

The trust has now been granted leave to appeal against the ruling and Lord Justice Elias has ordered an urgent hearing of the matter and put in place a protective costs regime.

The Welsh Assembly says that the controversial cull is essential to remove sources of bovine TB infection. About 12,000 cattle were culled because of bovine TB last year, costing £24m in compensation alone.

“We have to stop the disease,” Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, told farmers earlier this year. “In west Wales it is endemic. The figures are quite substantial.

“It [the badger cull] is not an easy decision for people living in communities that may be affected by it to understand, but this is necessary.”

The Trust said it hoped that the Welsh Assembly would now await the outcome of the appeal before pressing ahead with the badger cull.

David Williams, Chairman of the Badger Trust, welcomed the appeal, saying: “We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has found that our case has real prospects of success and we look forward to the forthcoming hearing. In the meantime, we call upon the Welsh Assembly Government to defer the cull until the appeal is heard Gwendolen Morgan, of London law firm Bindmans LLP, is representing the trust. She said today that the trust would argue that the high court made an error of law in April.

“The success of the Badger Trust’s application to appeal to the Court of Appeal calls into question the Minister’s plans to embark on this costly, ill-conceived cull, which is likely to do more harm than good in terms of TB reduction,” she said.

“Indeed, although it has largely passed under the radar, new cattle-focused measures are already beginning to make an impact in Wales and TB rates are quietly falling.

“The Badger Trust hopes that the Assembly Government will take this opportunity to pause for thought.”