Wildfowling Guidance Review

Closed 1 Dec 2017

Opened 2 Oct 2017

Feedback updated 15 Mar 2018

We asked

We asked your views on proposed changes for assessing wildfowling consents on protected sites. These included proposals:


  • to increase opportunities for wildfowling clubs to contribute to the assessment process;
  • the possibility of offering longer term agreements with review mechanisms;
  • to more closely align assessments with the bird numbers on site;
  • ways in which more of the positive management undertaken by wildfowling clubs could be included in agreements. 

You said

A total of 613 responses were received to the consultation; 78 of these were from representatives of organisations and the rest were from individuals. 92% of respondents were wildfowlers.

Respondents strongly supported some proposals, such as annual liaison meetings and wildfowling visits. Some proposals, such as the use of site management plans, provoked a mixed response. Other proposals, such as the proposal to link longer term plans to bird abundance figures, had less support. Some concerns were raised around lack of trust between Natural England and wildfowling clubs.


We did


We recognise that a wide range of views have been put forward and we wish to reassure all consultees that no pre-emptive action will be taken until we have fully explored these issues with stakeholders. We have noted the concerns raised and will reflect on which proposals were supported, and which were not. To take this discussion forward, we will invite key representatives to a workshop to better understand the range of views and to build relationships and consensus between representatives.  We need to start by building understanding of the opportunities for reform that exist in this area and to progress only on the basis of clear understanding and mutual trust.

Results updated 26 Mar 2018

The attached document provides a summary of responses to Natural England’s consultation on the review of its guidance for assessing wildfowling consents on protected sites.  The consultation ran from Monday 2nd October 2017 to Friday 1st December 2017.

Your responses are summarised in this document.   



Natural England is seeking views on proposed changes to the assessment and consenting process for wildfowling on designated sites in England. The proposed changes aim to make the process of wildfowling consents more straightforward, transparent and reflective of the impact and nature of wildfowling.

A large proportion of wildfowling in England takes place on designated sites, which are either notified solely as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or are also either a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) and/or a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under European Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) in addition to their SSSI status.  These latter sites, which form part of the Natura 2000 network of Europe-wide sites designated and protected for their nature conservation interest, are subject to the provisions of the Habitats Directive which sets out the assessment and decision-making process. 

The proposed changes are outlined in the questions on the online survey, with extra information and documents attached to the relevant questions. We've also attached the following information below in case you wish to read it before starting: the questions in the survey; the current wildfowling guidance; two "step-by-step" guides to the assessment process.

The proposed changes are outlined in the questions in the online survey.

To begin, please click on "online survey" and give us your views. Thank you.

Why your views matter

Natural England is seeking views on proposals relating to the assessment and consenting of wildfowling on designated sites in England.  The proposals seek to provide:

  • increased opportunities for wildfowling clubs to feed into the assessment process;
  • closer alignment of consents with the bird numbers on the site;
  • greater potential for positive management to be incorporated into agreements.  

By gathering comments and evidence from wildfowling clubs, representative bodies and other interested parties on the proposals through this consultation process, it is hoped that the propositions can be taken forward in the most effective form and secure the best environmental outcomes for the sites whilst still adhering to the necessary legal mechanisms.

What happens next

This consultation on proposed changes to the consenting process for wildfowling on designated sites will run from beginning of October to mid-November. The proposals aim to make the consenting process more straight-forward, transparent and reflective of the scale and nature of wildfowling as an activity.

A report on the results of this consultation will be produced in January.

By the end of April, we will produce amended guidance for the consenting process for wildfowling, shaped by the responses to this consultation.


  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Recreation sector
  • Environmental professional services


  • Natural environment
  • Biodiversity
  • Local environments
  • Conservation
  • Conservation