DEFRA faces legal challenge over game bird release

Chris Packham’s legal outfit, Wild Justice, has issued new legal proceedings against DEFRA over the release of tens of millions of game birds, which it claims are having a significant adverse effect on protected wildlife sites in England

According to Wild Justice, DEFRA is in breach of the EU Habitats Directive over its alleged failure to not properly assess the ecological impacts of the 50 million pheasants and red-legged partridges that are released in the UK every year.

It began legal proceedings against DEFRA last week.

To date, no impact assessments of the affects game birds may have on European protected sites have ever been carried out, according to Wild Justice co-founder, Dr Mark Avery. Wild Justice argues that the Habitats Directive requires the UK to assess “plans or projects” which may affect special areas of conservation (SACs) and special protection areas (SPAs), and that this should include the mass release of reared game birds.

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