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
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.”
Anti-shooting campaigners protest outside the offices of NRW in Cardiff
Environment brief: Lesley Griffiths