BASC hails High Court decision as a victory for the countryside

A pigeon

BASC has welcomed the decision of the High Court to dismiss attempts by Wild Justice to limit pest control in Wales as a victory for the countryside.

In a judgement released today following a protracted legal battle, Judge Jarman QC rejected all three of Wild Justice’s claims that the legal process of controlling pest birds, general licences, were not lawful. In his judgment he described the current approach as ‘rational’.

BASC spent in excess of £140,000 from its newly-launched ‘Fighting Fund’ to give shooting a voice in the legal challenge and to help Natural Resources Wales defend the case. BASC fought to be recognised by the court as ‘interested parties’.

BASC’s written submissions supported Natural Resources Wales argument for the continued use of general licences.

BASC’s Wales director Steve Griffiths said: “This result is vindication of BASC’s decision to step into this legal battle to ensure the voice of shooting was heard by the court.

“We were prepared to commit a substantial sum of money to this case but we did so because we felt it was important to fight for the countryside and to give a voice to those people who live and breathe the management of the countryside.

“Wild Justice failed with all three legal points and, while there may be some minor technical points to consider, this judgement today is a resounding success for the rural community. It is also another defeat for Wild Justice and their methods, after they were admonished by the High Court in England recently.

“BASC requested Wild Justice drop this case in Wales at the beginning of 2020 because their attack on shooting was going to waste valuable tax-payer funds and NRW’s resources at a time of national crisis.

“General licences are an essential tool for farmers, conservationists, and pest controllers. While we welcome discussions about the future of pest control, this needs to be done round a table not in the courts.”

Wild Justice has today said it will not appeal the court’s decision.

The full judgement can be downloaded here.