The Countryside Alliance has responded to the Government consultation on its proposals for an interim licensing regime for the release of game birds on, or within 500m of, European protected sites. We continue to believe licensing is unnecessary and unsupported by the evidence. The current regime of consents is more than capable of ensuring the integrity of these sites.
Indeed, many of these areas are protected because of shooting, and its associated land management, which has taken place for centuries. Shooting is vital for many rural communities in these areas, and for the ecology of the areas themselves, and must be able to continue. Any licensing regime should therefore reflect the Government's promise that it would be light touch and interim. It must be remembered that these proposals are only being considered because Natural England has failed to do its job of properly and needs the time to do so.
We would urge any members to review our response, and to respond themselves, especially if they are involved in shooting on, or near, a European protected site.
You can read our full consultation response here.