BASC secures concession on gamebird release reporting

feed ride

Following intervention from BASC, the process for reporting the location of feed and watering stations for shoots operating under individual licences for gamebird release on or near an SPA has now been streamlined.

As a result of BASC’s involvement, Defra has agreed that feeding and water stations do not need to be reported using an eight-figure grid reference on the mandatory reporting form for people releasing gamebirds under individual licences.

The individual licences are required in relation to the release of pheasants and red legged partridges on Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and a 500-metre buffer zone around them in England. Instead, Defra has now accepted that shoots can simply mark the feeding and watering areas on a map. 

This change has not been publicly announced, but was highlighted in a newsletter sent by Defra to those shoots who have registered with them. 

The Defra newsletter said: “It has been brought to our attention that, for some, the level of detail requested for feeding and watering stations … is proving challenging, perhaps because watering stations are frequently repositioned to manage released gamebird behaviour. 

“We are pleased to confirm that, as an alternative, we will accept an area marked on a suitable mapping image rather than individual grid references. If you elect to show your feeding or watering locations in this way, then please ensure you mark them as accurately as possible.”

BASC’s head of evidence and environmental law, Dr Marnie Lovejoy, said: “BASC challenged Defra’s previous requirement that shoots working under an individual licence must provide eight-figure grid references for all their feeders and drinkers. In many cases this would have meant shoots operating under an individual licence on or around a Special Protection Area had to collate and report hundreds of location points.

“The concession, secured as part of ongoing dialogue between BASC and Defra on gamebird releasing, is a huge improvement, which will save shoots considerable time and effort.”

For further information or advice on this or other aspects of individual gamebird release licences, contact your local BASC office, or email