In response to a decision today by the High Court to allow a gamekeeper to challenge Natural England over a licence refusal, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, takes the following view:
“For us, this Review is important from the perspective of people having equal access to justice.
“The SGA has long stated that, in order to protect wildlife and businesses and, importantly, to reduce wildlife crime, there has to be a fully functioning licensing system whereby people know they have recourse to a legal solution if their livelihoods are being demonstrably threatened.
“As well as proportionate penalties for wildlife crime, there has to be legal tools available to resolve conflicts in the countryside, so there is no need for anyone to take the law into their own hands. This is wholly sensible and, if this was in place and working, it would help tackle the cause of wildlife crime at its root.
“The Wildlife and Countryside Act allows for such tools to be available so, if impediments are being placed in the way of people accessing legal solutions, of course the SGA would back any challenge to that.
“In a modern, enlightened society we cannot have a situation where certain people are being debarred from the legal tools that have been put in place to help, whilst others are afforded that right.”