GL 43 – Release of gamebirds on or near EU protected sites

CLA reminder on legal obligations re game bird releases

The CLA is issuing a reminder to members of the legal requirement for shoots releasing pheasants and red legged partridges on or within 500 metres of a European Protected Site in England.

The new system has two main options for those who release birds on or within 500m of an EU (SPA, SAC or Ramsar) protected site, either apply to Natural England for an individual licence if releasing above the specified stocking density, or use GL43 if not. However, use of GL43 is conditional on all releases of more than 50 birds being reported to NE via their website within 28 days of release.

The introduction of a new general licence (GL43) earlier this year has made it a legal requirement to tell Natural England the number of gamebirds released and location. Details of any relevant SSSI consent, under which the activity is operating, is also required.

Members most likely to be affected are those with low ground shoots adjacent to driven grouse moors, the majority of which have one or more EU designations.

A failure to report the release of 50 or more birds within one month of doing so could leave shoots at risk of prosecution or having the use of the general licence withdrawn. The CLA is also reminding members of the legal requirement to complete the poultry register by those who keep more than 50 birds of a relevant type - which includes gamebirds.

There is an online reporting form within GL43 and further information on the new general licence, protected sites and the poultry register via this link.

Members are encouraged to engage with the new licence requirements where relevant. Members wanting to discuss any aspect of these licences can contact CLA North Rural Surveyor Robert Frewen by telephoning 01748 907070.