Gamebird release safe for 2020 after Wild Justice abandon application to fast-track legal challenge

The releasing of gamebirds this year will not be affected by court action after Wild Justice pulled back from asking for their legal challenge to be speeded up.

Wild Justice has conceded that it was unlikely that any remedies could be ordered by the court to affect the release of gamebirds in the 2020 season and has, therefore, withdrawn its request for the case to be expedited.

Defra was joined by BASC, the Countryside Alliance, the Game Farmers’ Association and National Gamekeepers’ Organisation in making legal submissions that said there would be significant adverse impacts on countryside management if the court had followed an accelerated process.

A final decision on whether to allow a judicial review to proceed is now expected to come later this year.

A spokesperson for the shooting organisations, said: “Registering as interested parties has helped ensure that Wild Justice cannot impact on this coming season. We said that the rural calendar was set in stone and that Wild Justice’s challenge simply came too late for their points to be taken into account for 2020. This is a crucial time of the year for the British countryside and we are glad that Wild Justice has taken a pragmatic decision.

“This does not mean the case is closed. There is still a threat to the way we manage the countryside so our work will continue to ensure shooting’s voice is heard in any future legal challenge.

“Our four organisations have united to do what it takes to ensure the future of sustainable shooting for the benefit of the rural economy, conservation and social well-being.”