Badger cull 'will affect tourism in Somerset'

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People will avoid Somerset this summer because of a planned badger cull in the county, a tourism organisation claimed.

The government wants to hold a cull in West Somerset and Gloucestershire in July and August to halt the spread of tuberculosis to cattle.

Visit Somerset says people have claimed they will avoid the area because they object to the planned cull.

The organisation's John Turner said local businesses were worried trade will be affected.

A number of messages have been left on its Facebook and Twitter sites by tourists concerned about the issue, he said.

"We have to take these comments very seriously, and report it to the higher authorities in regards to potential economic impact," Mr Turner said.

He will be meeting Wells Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt to raise the issue with her.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said: "We fully appreciate the importance of tourism to rural areas.

"We have not seen any clear or credible evidence to support the view that our plans on badger controls would have any significant impact on such tourism."

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