The legal challenge by Wild Justice has been thrown out
Essential pest control in Wales will be allowed to continue after Judge Jarman QC rejected the claims of Wild Justice on 18 January 2021.
Wild Justice had asserted that general licences GL001, GL002 and GL004 were not lawful but in the High Court judgement all three of these claims were refused.
Led by Mark Avery, Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay, the campaigning body had issued a legal challenge on 1 January 2020 against the three general licences named. They are available for the purpose of preventing serious damage or disease to crops or livestock, protecting public health and conserving certain species of wild birds. Wild Justice claimed that Natural Resources Wales (NRW) was “not doing its job properly” and looked at the extent to which the licences specified the circumstances in which they can be used.
Welsh general licences lawful
Ceri Davies, NRW’s Executive Director for Evidence, Planning and Policy said the Welsh government sponsored body were ‘pleased’ with the ruling on Welsh general licences. “The judgment confirms the evidence based and proportionate approach taken by NRW,” she said.
Welsh wildlife pays the cost
The legal challenges are costing Wild Justice thousands. Matt Cross, news editor of Shooting Times comments: “Wild Justice claims to have spent £42,00 on this case. BASC say it has cost them £140,000, but the biggest bill by far will be picked up by Welsh wildlife.
“Everyone of these vexatious legal challenges draws away funding that is needed to protect the country’s wildlife and environment. We don’t know yet how much this case has cost to defend, but we do know that in England Natural England has had to pull money away from environmental protection to ensure it can pay future legal bills. Those legal bills can be huge. Natural England’s successful defence of its Hen Harrier Brood management programme cost the taxpayer £106,000.”