BASC takes GL43 fight to the High Court

BASC Fighting Fund

Lawyers acting on behalf of the UK’s largest shooting organisation today filed a claim at the High Court for a Judicial Review of Defra’s decision to fundamentally change the licensing regime for the release of game birds in certain areas of England.

BASC previously branded the move by Defra to restrict the release of pheasants and partridges in and around Special Protected Areas (SPAs) as ‘chaotic’ and said its actions had threatened jobs and business at a critical point in the rural calendar. The changes were brought in at the eleventh hour without any prior notice or consultation earlier this year.

The legal challenge is being financially supported by BASC’s ‘Fighting Fund’.

Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said: “Defra decision makers rode roughshod over the rural community by ignoring and blindsiding those who know the countryside best by significantly changing the scope of General Licence 43 without any notice or consultation.

“Our absolute priority is still to seek the immediate reinstatement of a workable GL43 system.  But we also want the High Court to put on record that Defra’s decision was unlawful in so far that it was reached unfairly and without due consultation of the shooting community.

“We hope that one of the positive outcomes of this process will be that Defra’s processes are changed and that proper engagement with the rural community takes place before any other significant changes are introduced in the future.”

The National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) and the Game Farmers’ Association have joined the process as interested parties.