11
Sep
19

DEFRA concedes legal challenge from Wild Justice on non-native gamebird release

In July, Wild Justice launched a legal challenge against DEFRA about an alleged failure to assess the ecological impact of releasing millions of non-native gamebirds (pheasants and red-legged partridges) in to the countryside every year (see here).

A pre-action protocol (PAP) letter was sent to DEFRA (this outlines the legal challenge and offers DEFRA an opportunity to respond before formal papers are lodged at court seeking leave for a judicial review) and Wild Justice launched a crowdfunder with a target of £44,500 to ensure the case could proceed through the courts.

DEFRA was due to respond to the PAP letter within three weeks but managed to procrastinate for nine weeks (see here) before finally conceding the legal challenge today:

Wild Justice will be commenting further on this in the coming days.

For now, a massive thank you to all those who supported the crowdfunder – those funds are now ring-fenced to continue the legal challenge if DEFRA’s promised review and subsequent decision-making is deemed inadequate.

UPDATE 12 Sept 2019: Inaccurate reporting of Wild Justice’s successful legal challenge against DEFRA on gamebird releases (here)

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7 Responses to “DEFRA concedes legal challenge from Wild Justice on non-native gamebird release”


  1. 1 crypticmirror
    September 11, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    “those funds are now ring-fenced to continue the legal challenge if DEFRA’s promised review and subsequent decision-making is deemed inadequate.”

    If? I think we can safely say “when” on this one.

  2. 2 Leslie Etheridge
    September 12, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Why is it only sites near protected areas only.

    • September 12, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Hi Leslie,

      Because these protected areas are covered by the Habitats Directive, which is the legislation on which the Wild Justice challenge is founded.

      However, DEFRA has conceded that impact assessments aren’t just required for projects & plans (in this case non-native gamebird releases) directly on Natura sites, but also releases that may take place nearby which could also have an impact on the site integrity. The definition of this will be key.

  3. 4 Lizzybusy
    September 12, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    I can’t find the pre-action letter on Wild Justice’s website or Defra’s response. In fact I can’t find anything about this challenge on the site. Have you got a link to it or, if not, will it be put on there? That’d be an interesting read.

    Wild Justice – you are brilliant! Thank you for inspiring so many people and giving hope that things can change.

    I can’t wait for the next legal challenge!


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