The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has said it will not defer the north Pembrokeshire badger cull despite a forthcoming court appeal.

Badger Trust has been granted leave to appeal the High Court's April ruling that the cull is lawful. Lord Justice Elias has ordered an urgent hearing of the matter and put in place a protective costs regime.

The trust has urged the assembly to delay the cull in north Pembrokeshire until after the appeal hearing.

However the assembly has said that they are “disappointed” that the appeal has been lodged after the High Court comprehensively dismissed their complaints and subsequently refused them permission to appeal that decision.

A spokesman also pointed out that the Bern Convention (European Standing Committee responsible for wildlife) has also decided not to continue with a complaint brought by the Badger Trust.

"The bovine TB eradication programme involves a comprehensive set of measures including tighter cattle controls, increased cattle testing and better biosecurity, as well as a limited cull of badgers,” said a Welsh Assembly spokesman.

“The evidence shows that culling badgers can reduce the incidence of TB in cattle. We want to follow the example set by New Zealand; their Animal Health Board has recently announced that the number of herds testing positive to TB has fallen to an all-time low.

"This disease has cost the taxpayer £100m over the last ten years in compensation payments alone, and if we are to be successful in eradicating the disease from Wales, we must tackle all sources of infection, including the reservoir of infection in wildlife.

""It is our intention to begin to cull badgers from the intensive action pilot area in west Wales as soon as preparations are complete."