Interim gamebird release licensing scheme announced

A partridge

The government has today announced plans to introduce an interim licensing scheme for gamebird release on and within 500m of European Protected Sites in England.  These include Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). 

The interim scheme will affect those who release pheasants and red legged partridges on and near to European Protected Sites.  The announcement follows a period of consultation and will come into force from 31st May this year.

Shooting allowed to continue

The general licence approach adopted by the government will allow gamebird release and shooting to continue under a set of conditions. These will be linked to the Code of Good Shooting Practice and other best practice guidelines.

We reinforce our view that this legislation is unnecessarily bureaucratic and disproportionate, especially compared to other activities continuing to take place. 

However, the move is a significant dilution from the proposals of those who wish to see shooting restricted in these areas.  This announcement does not mark the end of gamebird release or shooting in these areas.

The legislation includes a four year ‘sunset’ clause, allowing time for Natural England to undertake the necessary assessments to ensure shooting is clear to continue without the requirement of a licensing scheme.

We will now review the announcement in detail and will continue to keep members up-to-date as the full legislation is published.

Read the Government’s announcement in full here. 

Read the full press release here

Read more on all matters relating to game and gamekeeping here