The collection of a levy to help fund the wildlife intervention part of DAERA’s new TB strategy has been paused from 1 November.

The voluntary levy, which was collected by dairy and beef processors, equated to 0.02p/l for milk and £1/head for beef cattle at slaughter.

Plans for a cull of badgers in TB hotspot areas hit a major setback last week when the High Court ruled that the process which DAERA followed when it set out its proposals was unlawful.

For wildlife intervention to now proceed, DAERA needs to issue a new public consultation on the matter.

Collection of the levy started in May 2023 and the money was managed by industry body Animal Health and Welfare NI (AHWNI).

It is understood that the funds raised to date are staying in a separate account within AHWNI and enough money has been collected to cover all preparation costs associated with a badger cull.

It means further fundraising by farmers through the levy will only be needed once wildlife intervention measures begin on the ground.

The judicial review case in Belfast’s High Court was brought forward by local wildlife campaigners from the NI Badger Group and Northamptonshire-based organisation Wild Justice.

In an update to its supporters, Wild Justice said it would continue to use legal action to delay the roll out of a badger cull in NI.

“We will keep a close watch on DAERA’s next move, and we remain ready and willing to take further legal challenges,” the group said.