BASC is advising members that an announcement from Defra on the long-term future of general licences is unlikely to be made until late next week.

Defra has this evening told stakeholders it understands the urgency of implementing a “working system” of general licences “as quickly as possible” but wants its solution to be “legally robust”.

BASC and other leading rural organisations had expected a significant announcement ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend after environment secretary Michael Gove took control of general licences from Natural England and instigated a call for evidence, which BASC responded to.

Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said: “This is an incredibly frustrating delay for those who need a licensing system that is fit for purpose.

“While we accept that Defra has a vast amount of information to sift through following its recent call to evidence, the fact so many people responded to that demand for evidence should give a clear signal to Defra that people are desperate and need a workable solution in days not weeks.”

In an email to BASC this evening, Defra said: “We are developing proposals based on the 4,000 responses we received to our call for evidence and will set out our next steps shortly.”


Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.