SPA gamebird release decision delayed by Defra


BASC is disappointed with the Secretary of State’s announcement on Friday (1 March) of further delays to the final policy decision regarding the release of gamebirds on SPAs and their 500m buffer zones.

In response to the announcement BASC’s executive director of conservation, Caroline Bedell, said: “Although we appreciate the efforts undertaken by Defra to try and complete their assessments, we’ve repeatedly highlighted the importance that such decisions are taken and communicated ahead of the crucial planning stages in the shooting calendar, not only to provide certainty to shoots, but also to avoid potential animal welfare issues for gamebirds.

“Alongside the other relevant stakeholders, we have worked closely with Defra to provide all the relevant information required to allow such decisions to be taken in a reasonable time frame, and expectations were raised that the sector would be informed of all necessary details by the end of February.

“The announced delay of the decision to mid-March is concerning as the sector is moving into the time-critical stages in the breeding cycle of gamebirds.”

For more information on the removal of the general licence permitting the release of pheasants and red-legged partridge on or near Special Protection Areas in England, click here.