Campaigners in St Albans say "all the hard work has paid off" after the government has said it will not expand badger culling to other areas this year.

Yesterday the environment secretary Owen Paterson announced the halt of further culls across the country. The environment department's original plan was to announce up to ten new cull areas in south-west England each year.

After taking to the streets of St Albans last month to protest against further culls, as organised by the Herts and Middlesex Badger Group, group member Jo Russell said it was "great news".

She said: "We are very pleased - this is really good news.

"With a bit more pressure we hope to stop Badger culling full stop. Our hard work has paid off after we put an enormous amount of pressure on the government.

"We have had good support, which has been marvelous. We will now carry on to stop it all together."

The government has now proposed a programme of vaccination around the edges of the most badly affected parts of the country, which could create a buffer zone of immunity that would stop the disease from spreading. This also includes investing £24.6 million in the development of effective TB vaccines for cattle and badgers.

Last month St Albans MP Anne Main led a debate in the House of Commons about the controversial issue and proposed a motion which drew attention to the failure of the culls.

In a statement released by her office, Mrs Main welcomed the news.

It read: "The minister appears to have bowed to the pressure, and I am pleased we have managed to at least curtail the pace at which the culls are rolled out.

"Whilst I still believe culling to be an ineffective way of tackling bovine TB, the pressure we have placed upon Mr Paterson has made the Government revaluate their policy.

"I welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to creating a buffer zone of vaccination and the continual pursuit of an effective cattle and badger vaccination. No doubt the damning IEP [Independent Expert Panel] report and hard lobbying have made Mr Paterson think again, but I will continue to oppose any future culls as I believe it is an inhumane and ineffectual way of tackling bovine TB.

"The report was clear: it is ‘extremely likely’ that Government missed its target on humanness; and on effectiveness the culls removed less than 24.8 per cent of badgers in Somerset and less than 37.1% in Gloucestershire against its target of 70 per cent.

"There was hope and encouragement offered yesterday by the minster, but I am clear, culling badgers cannot be part of the solution. "