Damage claims in the shooting season

With the UK shooting season now in action, there will inevitably be damage caused by game birds to agricultural crops.

Kathryn Williams, Davis Meade
Kathryn Williams, Davis Meade

Under section 20 of the Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) 1986, there are provisions that enable a tenant to make a claim where their crops have suffered damage from wild animals or birds where the sporting rights are vested in the landlord or anyone who the landlord has granted the sporting rights to (other than the tenant himself).

The question has been raised as to whether hand-reared pheasants that are often tame after release are “wild birds.” It is submitted that once released into the wild, these birds do qualify as “wild birds” despite the way they were reared.

To claim compensation, the tenant must give written notice to the landlord within one month of becoming aware of the damage, or one month before he or she ought to have reasonably become aware of the damage.

Kathryn Williams, Davis Meade

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