Questions for Natural England
Natural England’s Deputy Chair Lord Blencathra (who was Acting Chair at the time of the decision to revoke the General Licences GL04, GL05 and GL06), interim Chief Executive Marian Spain and new Chair, Tony Juniper, appear before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee on Tuesday 21 May 2019 (see here).
Wild Justice contacted the EFRA Committee last week and offered any help that we could give, including that our lawyers were available to give evidence on the legal aspects of the case.
We also suggested that the following questions would be germane to the Committee’s enquiry;
- Had Natural England or Defra, before receipt of the legal challenge from Wild Justice on 13 February, ever had cause to be concerned about the lawfulness of General Licences GL04, GL05 and GL06? If so, what were the nature of those concerns and why weren’t they acted upon?
- At what point after 13 February, when the Wild Justice Pre-Action Protocol letter was sent, did Natural England come to the view that the General Licences GL04, GL05 and GL06 were unlawful?
- What communications occurred between Natural England and Defra over the legal challenge?
- What legal advice did Defra give Natural England on the legal issues raised by Wild Justice between 13 February and 23 April?
- What information was the Natural England Board given about the legal challenge at its meeting of 20 March?
- What information was the Natural England Board given about the legal challenge at its meeting of 15 April?
- When, and in what form, will the promised consultation on general licences take place and how will it differ from the rushed consultation by Defra which closed last Monday?
We will watch with interest to see how this session goes.