Decision: The Countryside Alliance

Decision of the Commission dated 23 March 2017.

The Countryside Alliance (‘the Alliance’) applied for registration as a charity.

Having given full and detailed consideration to the application, the Commission has concluded that the Alliance does not meet the legal test for being a charity as it is not established for exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit. Consequently it cannot be registered as a charity.

Certain purposes of the Alliance relate to preserving, protecting and promoting the heritage and practice of activities related to wildlife, the countryside and wildlife management including hunting, shooting and fishing together with the management of the natural environment; and the advancement of rural community life.

These do not fall within a description of purpose which is recognised in law as being a purpose which may be charitable.

In addition, in relation to the promotion of game or game production, it appears to the Commission that the primary result of the furtherance of this purpose is private benefit accruing to those commercially involved in the production of game for eating. Further, some of the research published by the Alliance appears to be promoting particular activities or points of view rather than being balanced educational research, and the concept of relieving need ‘in relation to rural economies’ generally is too wide to be exclusively charitable.

Some of the Alliance’s purposes are charitable, and the Commission recognises that the Alliance does important work protecting and promoting rural life and representing the interests of people living and working in the countryside from all backgrounds and geographical locations. But not every purpose that is beneficial to society is a charitable purpose for the public benefit.

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