Opinion Former Article

BASC questions future of NE relationship after "appalling" general licences decision

BASC has told Natural England (NE) it questions the value of the partnership between the two organisations in the wake of the decision to revoke three general licences in England for controlling certain wild birds from tomorrow.

In a 55 minute phone call with Natural England, BASC's chief executive Ian Bell said that the "appalling" decision was similar to "changing the speed limit effective tomorrow and putting out a notice on the internet but no new signs".

During the phone call, Mr Bell demanded an urgent meeting with new Natural England chairman Tony Juniper to discuss the revocation and the validity and future of the relationship between BASC and NE.

He said: "I have this morning questioned the value of our partnership with Natural England. I also said I was appalled that the announcement was made without any form of consultation with the rural community.

"I have asked what assurances NE can give to those who have not been properly informed of the changes. We simply must know whether they will have protection from prosecution. It is quite frankly ludicrous to say people can apply for a license on the day the law changes.

"I have been able to ascertain that there had been no consultation with law enforcement agencies and BASC is following up with the police to get relevant advice for its members.

"I have made it clear to NE that it has failed in the role of a government organisation to protect otherwise law-abiding people."

BASC and other rural organisations were only told about NE's decision in a press release issued at 3.30pm yesterday.

BASC chairman Peter Glenser QC said: "Natural England's actions and the lack of notice they have given to the rural community is utterly unacceptable. Their decision has already caused panic and chaos.

"We are at a crucial point in the farming and countryside management calendar and to drop this on people without notice is outrageous."

BASC is seeking urgent legal advice following Natural England's decision (https://basc.org.uk/blog/press-releases/featured-news/basc-seeks-urgent-legal-advice-on-general-licences-revocation/)

ENDS

Notes to editors: Details of BASC and NE's partnership agreement can be found here: https://basc.org.uk/blog/press-releases/latest-news/basc-and-natural-england-renew-partnership-agreement/

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