Welsh ban fight­back be­gins

Ru­ral groups are seek­ing per­mis­sion from the High Court to bring a ju­di­cial re­view against NRW’S de­ci­sion to end shoot­ing on pub­lic land

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - NEWS -

BASC, the Coun­try­side al­liance and the Na­tional Game­keep­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion have taken the first steps in a joint le­gal chal­lenge to Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales’s (NRW) de­ci­sion to end pheas­ant shoot­ing on pub­lic land in Wales. This is the next stage in a cam­paign that be­gan with the is­sue of a for­mal “let­ter be­fore ac­tion” by the groups’ lawyers in Novem­ber.

lawyers act­ing for the three or­gan­i­sa­tions have pe­ti­tioned the High Court to ask for per­mis­sion to seek a ju­di­cial re­view of NRW’S de­ci­sion. If the High Court rules in their favour they can then ask for a judge to ex­am­ine whether NRW’S de­ci­sion was law­ful and prop­erly made.

The ju­di­cial re­view could po­ten­tially lead to the de­ci­sion be­ing over­turned.

a spokesman for the or­gan­i­sa­tions said: “We felt du­ty­bound to unite and take a stand against some­thing that we feel is fun­da­men­tally wrong. We are chal­leng­ing an out­come which ap­pears to run con­trary to the ev­i­dence from NRW’S con­sul­ta­tion process and its le­gal obli­ga­tions.”

The move comes as mark Drake­ford, the re­cently ap­pointed First min­is­ter of Wales, in­stalls a new Cab­i­net. Han­nah Blythyn am, the min­is­ter whose let­ter to NRW was widely seen as lead­ing to the re­fusal to re­new shoot­ing leases, has been moved to a post over­see­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Her job has been abol­ished and re­spon­si­bil­ity for the en­vi­ron­ment has been passed to les­ley Grif­fiths, who be­comes min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment, En­ergy and Ru­ral af­fairs.

The cam­paign to over­turn the de­ci­sion by NRW has had en­cour­age­ment from the re­sults of an anti-shoot­ing pe­ti­tion lodged on the Welsh as­sem­bly web­site. The pe­ti­tion, which called for the li­cens­ing of game shoots, re­ceived only 119 sig­na­tures with just 24 of those com­ing from peo­ple in Wales. an ear­lier pe­ti­tion hosted on an in­ter­net pe­ti­tion site, with far fewer checks on who was sign­ing it, gained nearly 12,700 sig­na­tures.

Tim Bon­ner of the Coun­try­side al­liance said: “The mass email cam­paigns, the tar­geted so­cial

“We felt duty-bound to take a stand against some­thing that we feel is fun­da­men­tally wrong”

me­dia ac­tiv­ity and, of course, the dodgy pe­ti­tions do not rep­re­sent a real re­flec­tion of pub­lic at­ti­tudes and opin­ions. The re­duc­tion of a ‘12,700 sig­na­ture’ pe­ti­tion to 24 Welsh vot­ers is ev­i­dence of that.”

Matt Cross

Anti-shoot­ing cam­paign­ers protest out­side the of­fices of NRW in Cardiff

En­vi­ron­ment brief: Les­ley Grif­fiths

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