We recognise our responsibility to ensure that wildfowling is sustainable and compliant with the requirements of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives and various national conservation related legislation. The directives fully recognise the hunting of wild birds as a legitimate and sustainable activity.

Wildfowling is the hunting of specific species of ducks, geese and waders with a smooth bore shotgun. Limited to autumn and winter, it usually takes place on foot. For wildfowling on our land in England, Wales and Northern Ireland we grant leases of sporting rights.

Wildfowling clubs help manage many of these areas for both shooting and conservation to codes of good practice. Organisations holding leases of sporting rights provide a number of management activities on their sites, such as wardening to minimise illegal shooting; conservation activities, survey work and the control of predators; refuge areas where shooting is not permitted.

In 1995 we established the Joint Group for Wildfowling and Conservation on Tidal Land (JTG). In addition to representatives from our marine team, membership includes:

  • our own coastal portfolio
  • Natural England
  • Natural Resources Wales (formerly the Countryside Council for Wales)
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • British Association for Shooting and Conservation.

Meeting twice a year, the JTG examines general management issues as well as specific lease applications and renewals.

The current leases for sporting rights:

  • 70 leases for sporting rights are in operation on our foreshore
  • Of these there are seven which have been issued to conservation organisations
  • There are 59 leases currently granted to wildfowling clubs covering over 700 km of foreshore. Many of these leases include refuge areas designated by the clubs
  • All clubs are required to submit wildfowling returns, usually by 1 April each year. The document is available for download on this page.