This review was published yesterday. It is a major part of the DEFRA response to a Wild Justice legal challenge over the failure of DEFRA to assess the impacts of the unregulated release of tens of millions (47+ million Pheasants and 10 million Red-legged Partridges) on non-native gamebirds on sites of conservation importance.
Wild Justice sent a legal letter to DEFRA on 10 July 2019 to which DEFRA should have responded in two weeks but actually took over two months. On 11 September 2019 DEFRA conceded that there was an issue here that they needed to address.
This review, whose Foreword is dated 18 March 2020, is the first public response to the science of the Wild Justice legal challenge.
I’ll be reading it carefully over the weekend, as will the rest of the Wild Justice team including our lawyers. I imagine we’ll have something to say about it some time next week.
Wild Justice was given permission for judicial review of gamebird releases and our lawyers will be in court, perhaps virtually, on 3 and 4 November. Our case will be, partly, that DEFRA cannot rule out ecological impacts of such vast, uncontrolled and unmonitored releases on the ecological value of sites of high conservation value and that therefore non-native gamebird releases should cease within 5km of such sites until there is evidence for lack of harm.