The government has today announced plans to introduce an interim licensing scheme for gamebird release on and within 500m of European Protected Sites (Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs)) in England. The announcement follows a period of consultation and will come into force 31st May.

The interim scheme will affect those who release pheasants and red legged partridges on and near to European Protected Sites.

Glynn Evans, BASC’s head of game and gundogs, said: “The general licence approach adopted by the government will allow gamebird release and shooting to continue under a set of conditions, linked to the Code of Good Shooting Practice and other best practice guidelines.

“It remains BASC’s position that this legislation is unnecessarily bureaucratic and disproportionate, especially compared to other activities continuing to take place. However, it is a significant dilution to what was being lobbied for by those who wish to see shooting restricted. This announcement is not the end of gamebird release or shooting in these areas.

“The clear sunset clause of four years within the legislation is welcome news. This provides ample time for Natural England to undertake the necessary assessments to ensure shooting is clear to continue without the requirement of a licensing scheme.

“BASC will be reviewing the announcement in detail and will continue to keep our members up to date as the full legislation is published.”

To read the Government’s announcement in full click here