BASC welcomes significant improvements to GL43


BASC has welcomed the announcement by Environment Secretary Steve Barclay of a new general licence (GL45) for the release of gamebirds on or near certain Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in England.

After the chaos of last year’s changes to GL43 requiring shoots on SPAs to obtain a specific licence to release gamebirds, BASC has achieved significant improvements to the licensing process by launching a legal challenge and by working closely with Defra through political engagement.

A substantial number of SPAs will be covered by a new general licence GL45 which will allow the release of gamebirds without the need for to apply for individual licences. Shoots in areas not covered by this new licence will still have to apply for an individual licence. 

This stands in stark contrast to the situation last year when Defra announced that release of gamebirds on SPAs or within a 500-metre buffer zone would no longer be permitted under the existing general licence GL43, due to the perceived risk of gamebirds transmitting avian influenza to wild birds. Shoots wishing to release on these areas therefore had to apply for an individual licence at the eleventh hour through an untested and uncertain process. 

BASC’s head of game and wildlife management Glynn Evans said: “One of our key demands was that a general licence must be reinstated for SPAs and their buffer zone as soon as possible to provide the sector with certainty for the coming season. 

“After a long process of engagement with Defra, which included mobilising our legal team to challenge their original decision, we are pleased the department has listened to the evidence. 

“For SPAs and associated buffer zones not covered by GL45, a new individual licence process has opened, and I would urge anyone who needs to apply to do so early as possible. Any BASC members requiring help should contact their local English regional team who will support them through the process.”

Find more information, advice and guidance on GL45 and GL43 here.