Gamebird releases in Suffolk – can you help?

Good morning!

Yesterday we told you what we have heard about the process of assessing licences for gamebird releases by Defra (see our blog which reproduces yesterday’s newsletter – click here). 

Today we tell you some of what we have discovered from information requests to Natural England. We asked for the documentation of the decisions on licence applications for a variety of sites. Let us tell you about the Deben Estuary, a Special Protection Area in Suffolk important for wading birds, see

The SPA runs from Woodbridge to the sea at Woodbridge Haven and in autumn and winter holds important numbers of waterfowl, especially waders and geese (see here).

Natural England’s advice was clear – no licence should be granted  for gamebird releases here:

Specifically the advice states ‘In line with the strict protection afforded to European Sites, Natural England recommends that this licence is refused’.  

We believe, though we do not know for sure, that this is an example of a licence which was granted against Natural England advice.

Can you help, please? We will get to the bottom of this through information requests but it may take some time. If you have information that would help then please do get in touch.

If you live locally to this site and know of any Pheasant or Red-legged Partridge releases, this season, in or very close to the SPA as shown on the map above, then please let us know. Is there gamebird shooting occurring on this site this year?

We don’t know, but we intend to get to the bottom of this.

By the way, do you realise who is the MP for the Deben Estuary? It’s Therese Coffey – the Secretary of State at Defra. Let’s hope that she didn’t play a part in this decision because there is a clear potential conflict of interest. We wonder who was the applicant for the licence? Do you know?

If you can add information to this story then please contact Wild Justice and we will respect your anonymity.

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Thank you! We’ll be back tomorrow.