General Licences

Larsen trapGWCT research in the uplands and lowlands shows that the control of predatory species such as crows is important for the conservation of gamebirds, wading birds and songbirds.

General Licences authorise the control of certain bird pest species including crows, gulls and pigeons. Reasons specified in a number of different licences include the conservation of wild birds, the protection of livestock and crops, and preventing the spread of disease.

Licensing in this way avoids the administrative and financial costs of individual licensing by covering commonplace situations that are unlikely to have any great conservation impact. However, they only allow these actions within strict conditions, abuse of which would constitute an offence.

Latest general licence news

Read all the latest GWCT news and advice on this subject here.

General Licences (England) - Your questions answered

Download our FREE Q&A Guide on the 2019 changes to General Licences in England.

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General Licences in 2020 - we are taking action now

Following this year’s General Licence fiasco, Defra are now reviewing when people will and won’t be allowed to control pest species in England in 2020.

We're asking if you will help fund our challenging programme of work to ensure that those in charge listen not only to the science, but also the reality on the ground. You understand that if we want our countryside to thrive, it must be managed. We can’t sit back and hope nature looks after curlew and lapwing, or produces enough crops to feed our growing population.

The GWCT has always championed scientific research as the way to inform those putting conservation into practice. Our studies have helped to improve the nation’s understanding of all aspects of land management.

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GWCT Wales & Natural Resources Wales

After months of stakeholder engagement with Natural Resources Wales over General Licences, the Board decided on Thursday 19 September to support a proposal which the GWCT do not support. Read more here.

The links below detail the licensing process throughout the devolved administrations of the UK:

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