BADGERS in Cumbria would not be culled if a controversial pilot to eradicate bovine TB is successful, according to the National Farmers’ Union.

Wildlife campaigners have threatened action to save threatened badgers after Natural England issued its first licence for a pilot cull in Gloucestershire on Monday.

But the NFU’s north west spokesman, Carl Hudspith, said: “This does not affect Cumbria because there is no reservoir of bovine TB in the county, which means no badgers will be culled.”

However, Cumbria has not been entirely immune from the disease. In April 2011, farmer Robert Threlfell of Plumpton Head Farm, near Penrith, lost 103 animals in his milk herd to bovine TB.

No sign of the disease was found in local wildlife, prompting the NFU to suggest the disease may have been brought to Cumbria via an infected animal passing throught he area.