" It was impossible to develop a reliable model for predicting whether humane concentrations of carbon monoxide gas could be achieved in a badger sett .Please keep a close eye on that piece of verbal gymnastics - a single sentence from just one (of many) very long pdf file - as we summarise the work done in 2005/2006 by both Defra with one set of artificial sandcastles, or Porton Down with their very own bucket and spades .
Both were looking at reaching an optimum level of 1 percent concentration of carbon monoxide (CO) for long enough to euthanise the tunnel occupants without any visble side effects. Both used (different) models to predict concentrations, and a number of 'assumptions' were made in order to construct the model. Neither factored in animal movement, and thus movement of air / gas within the chambers.
In Defra's paper (No 2 on the list)
Target concentrations were exceeded 13m from the entrance in all trials and sustained for 24 hours when tunnel entrances were blocked - in all conditions. The trials achieved concentrations of CO thought to be sufficient to kill badgers.Porton Down repeated this exercise in paper 4 with the same results. They may even have used the same delivery vehicle. Defra appear to have located an 18 year old Rangy 3.5l petrol automatic, which they are at pains to point out would have failed its MOT on emmissions and couldn't be transported legally on the public highway. Did it have a SORN declaration, one wonders? They continue:
"In all four trials CO concentration exceeded 3 percent after 60 - 80 minutes, and stayed above 1 per cent for at least 60 minutes in all trials. When all entrances were closed, CO levels were still above 1 percent after 24 hours. Levels were maintained after the engine was switched off.In paper 3, Porton Down had another go, but their model told them that within a complicated sett system, the CO left dead spots. When they repeated Defra's number 2 'trial' - possibly with the same old Rangy (one would hope the taxpayer didn't fund two) they achieved similar results in all conditions of wind speed and soil porosity.
In paper 5 (2006) Defra had a blast with a portable generator - presumably the Rangy 3.5l automatic had eventually died. They had its portable replacement de-tuned to deliver levels of CO greater than its 4 wheeled predecessor and in a series of trials, all exceeded the target delivery of 1 percent concentration of CO for at least one hour.
In paper 8, Defra were looking at soil porosity and had mixed results until somone suggested they seal the entrance hole around the delivery pipe. When this was done, all trials revealed CO (Carbon monoxide) exceeding the 1 percent concentration on all models. In one test Miracle-Gro was used to mimic large soil particle size (2.36 - 2.80mm) and we had visions of an artic load.... However from the accompanying illustration, this experiment was done in a test tube, so enough for Defra's window box perhaps, rather than 'gardening leave'.
They tried GPR to map actual setts and see if CO worked underground as well as in the above ground
"however by this stage of research two other viable culling techniques had been identified and further work on fumigation [with CO] had been suspended.And this is the bit Trevor missed
"Although significant additional work would still be required to demonstrate the efficacy and humaneness of CO fumigation in the field (including regulatory approval) the most recent work suggests that development of a CDF model to predict gas flow within badger setts could be achievable. Defra July 2008"
If you have a spare three hours, all the papers can be seen here. Most indicate time pressure to deliver, and, as we've come to expect from the passengers on this miserable but highly beneficial gravy train, request 'more research' to confirm their findings.