Interim General Licensing Regime for Releasing Gamebirds

General licence allows an authorised person to release common pheasants and red-legged partridges within European sites and a 500 metre boundary in England


From 31st May 2021, any release of common pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) or red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa) into the wild on European sites in England or within 500 metres of their boundary will only be lawful under the authority of a licence issued under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.


Defra has developed a general licence (GL43) that allows an authorised person to release a specified number of common pheasants or red-legged partridges into the wild in these areas providing the conditions of the licence are met. This follows a Defra-led consultation in early 2021.


Anyone unable to use the general licence can still apply to Natural England for an individual licence.


An online advice service is available to check whether the general licence can be used, or an individual licence is needed.