Natural England has announced it will be replacing three of its existing General Licences:
- To prevent damage or disease to livestock or crops (GL04)
- To preserve public health or public safety (GL05)
- To protect wildlife and plants for conservation purposes (GL06)
Existing licences to take or kill birds will be revoked on Thursday 25 April
Those who have a legitimate need to control wild birds should have a better understanding of how disruptive these changes might be by next week.
During the interim, the GWCT will continue to ask Natural England for clarification on a number of points, including the use of calling birds during this transition.
New licences to start being issued next week
Natural England says it is undertaking licensing assessments that would enable it to permit lethal control of certain bird species in defined situations. Such as:
- to prevent serious damage to livestock from carrion crows
- to preserve public health and safety from the impacts of feral pigeons
It says they are prioritising circumstances that are likely to be of the greatest need and impact at this time of year. So those protecting species of high conservation value should contact Natural England and explain the urgency of being able to act right now during the breeding season.
Where action is not covered by a new licence, those who need to will be able to apply for an individual licence using a simplified process.
Why is this change required?
Natural England says it has concluded that, whilst general licences are a lawful mechanism, these three were issued without it being lawfully satisfied about the absence of other satisfactory solutions as required by section 16(1A)(a) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
A wider review of general and class licences?
The review of the three General Licences will be the first part of a wider review of general and class licensing by Natural England, due to be completed this year.
Natural England says it wants to fully engage stakeholders in this wider review. It also states expertise, feedback and evidence will be used to inform its new licensing regime.
Keep an eye on the GWCT for more information
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If you have questions please contact:
County Hall, Spetchley Road
Telephone: 0300 060 3900
Opening times: 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
Please ring Natural England directly with any questions you may have.