Chris Packham’s Wild Justice group dismissed in the High Court again

Leading rural organisations have reacted positively to the High Court’s dismissal of Wild Justice’s ‘speculative’ attempt to judicial review Defra’s most recent burning legislation in England.

The attempted judicial review had sought to disrupt the Heather and Grass Burning (England) Regulations 2021 that bans heather burning on our most protected sites with peat of more than 40cm unless under licence for special beneficial circumstances.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, the Countryside Alliance and the Moorland Association successfully applied to join the proceedings as interested parties and as a result were able to submit evidence to the judge in the case, Mr Justice Dove, who considered this material when reaching his decision to throw the case out.

Wild Justice have been ordered to pay Defra costs up to the sum of £8,900 and the interested parties £1,100.

A spokesperson for the organisations, said: “This is positive news for the dedicated and hard-working land managers who are responsible for protecting, preserving and promoting our uplands.

“Wild Justice’s application was speculative at best but required a firm opposition by Defra which was reinforced by our submissions as interested parties. We will continue to work with Defra to ensure land managers have the tools at their disposal so that they can benefit key habitats and species.

“The interested parties have agreed that the costs recovered from Wild Justice will in turn be donated to the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust, a charity close to all our members’ hearts.”