At the end of October 2020, campaign group Wild Justice secured an historic environmental legal victory when DEFRA agreed to licence the annual release of some 60 million pheasants and red-legged partridges, to control ecological damage to wildlife sites (see here).
[Captive-reared poults waiting to be put inside a release pen in a Scottish forest. They’ll stay there for a few months before being let out, chased and shot, all in the name of sport. Photo by Ruth Tingay]
While we await the details of that proposed licensing scheme from DEFRA, politicians in the devolved countries are also paying close attention to what’s going on.
Mark Ruskell MSP (Scottish Greens) has lodged a series of Parliamentary questions on this topic, as follows:
S5W-33328 Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Government what steps it plans to take to address the negative effects of gamebird releases within (a) European protected sites and (b) a 500m buffer zone around European protected sites, and (a) when and (b) how it will amend section 14(2A) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended for Scotland.
S5W-33329 Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Government whether it (a) is aware of and (b) had any role in the UK Government’s review into how gamebird releases on or near European protected sites are managed, the conclusion of which was announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 30 October 2020.
S5W-33330 Mark Ruskell: To ask the Scottish Government what evidence it is aware of that the conclusions of the UK Government’s review into how gamebird releases on or near European protected sites are managed are consistent with the likely impacts on such sites in Scotland.
The expected answer date for these questions is 2nd December 2020.