BASC says Defra’s decision to extend the current general licences in England until 31 December 2020 is both sensible and workable for shooting and conservation.

The general licences were due to expire on 31 July, but Defra continues to carry out a full review of information submitted during their call for evidence last year.

In announcing today’s extension to the current licences, Defra said it plans to publish new licences in November to give users time to become acquainted with any changes before they come into play in the New Year.  

Glynn Evans, BASC’s head of game and gundogs, said: “While BASC continues to call for a fit for purpose and future proofed licensing structure as soon as possible, this announcement today will reassure our members that Defra is taking the task seriously and will provide a degree of certainty for the rest of this year.

“It is essential that Defra is given the time and resources to appropriately assess and consider the future of our general licences.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “It is vital that we have a robust long-term licensing system which balances the needs of users and our wildlife. Our general licencing review has made significant progress, however more time is needed to ensure that we have carefully considered all of the relevant evidence, and to fully develop a general licensing solution for our protected sites.

“Our extensive consultation and review process will be completed in the coming months, with the new licences coming into force on 1 January 2021.”