Defra holds firm on game bird releasing in England

The shooting community has been provided with reassurances by Defra that no knee-jerk reactions will occur following the ongoing review of releasing gamebirds in and around designated sites.

In response to a written question by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Shooting and Conservation, regarding timescales, Defra Minister Rebecca Pow said ‘it is not in its [Defra’s] view reasonable nor realistic to expect measures to be implemented before summer/autumn 2020’.

Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said: “BASC has been raising its concerns at the highest levels of government and we are delighted that Defra will not be bullied by threats of legal action into a knee-jerk ban on the release of game birds across almost half of England.

“As many shoots are already in the planning stages for next season the news is reassuring that there is no immediate threat ahead whilst the review is undertaken.

“The rearing and releasing of game birds provides a massive net gain for biodiversity in the British countryside. It is vital Defra ensures that all the evidence is considered when identifying a suitable way forward.

“Defra confirmed they will be making a full statement ‘shortly’, BASC will be updating all members and the wider shooting community on any important announcements.”

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