Defra to review GL45 in light of reduction of AI risk

BASC has welcomed Defra’s announcement that the new General Licence (GL45), which governs the release of pheasants and red-legged partridges on and around certain Special Protection Areas (SPAs), is currently being reviewed.

The current licence conditions are based on a medium level of risk of the occurrence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in Great Britain. This risk level was dropped to ‘low’ on 5 April 2024, which means the event is rare but does occur.

Defra confirmed that it aims to produce an updated licence by the end of May 2024.

BASC’s head of game and wildlife management Glynn Evans said:

“BASC has raised with Defra the matter of the decreasing HPAI risk levels, and we are hopeful that this review will lead to more SPAs being added to the scope of GL45.

“We would like to see any remaining restrictions removed, dependent on the continuing improving picture of HPAI in wild birds.

“Ideally, we would like to see all SPAs covered by GL45 if the risk remains low.

“For people whose shoot is not currently covered by GL45 we advise you not to delay and continue with your application for an individual licence until we get more clarity around the updated licence.”