NEWS that laws banning the sale of game meat during the close season will be removed from the statute book has been welcomed.

John Mortimer, director of the Country Land and Business Association in Gloucestershire, said: "The ban on selling out-of-season game may have been useful when the Game Acts were introduced but now it just limits the amount of game meat that reaches consumers via butchers' shops and the supermarket shelves."

When it does become law, it will remove the need for shooters to hold a game licence and for people who sell game to hold a game dealer's licence. It will also removes restrictions on dealing in game birds and venison during the close season, permitting game to be sold by everyone all year round.

The licenses date back over 200 years and were designed to prevent unauthorised people taking game.

The Government has decided to retain the basic anti-poaching provisions in the Game Acts, a move applauded by the CLA.