Natural England announces changes to three General Licences

Natural England has announced it will be replacing three of its existing General Licences:

  1. To prevent damage or disease to livestock or crops (GL04)
  2. To preserve public health or public safety (GL05)
  3. 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:

Natural England
County Hall, Spetchley Road
United Kingdom

Email: enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk 
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.

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General licence changes

at 16:53 on 25/04/2019 by Patrick Woodford

Magpies - One. Song birds - Nil. A victory for stupidity.

Wood pigeon control

at 13:27 on 25/04/2019 by Harry shovelton

I do crop protection for a farmer in southport Merseyside the hordes of pigeon in the area hit the fields as soon as the farmer has sown them by the time the farmer or I have applied for a permit the seed will have been decimated there is a need for some mechanisms so that we can offer immediate protection generally the threat to the crop demolishes after 10 -14 days and doesn't return till near harvest time when adverse weather flattens the crop and the hordes return

Corvid control - or lack of it

at 12:41 on 25/04/2019 by Crispin Auden

Where has this suddenly come from? Have those responsible for it given any thought at all to the effect that it will have on nesting songbirds? I would expect a sudden and immediate decline in the successful rearing of broods whilst this ban is in place. But why should we wait until the statistics gathered two or three years from now show what we all know to be true? By then, permanent damage will have been done to the populations of songbirds that we have all been struggling to encourage for decades. This ban must be lifted with immediate effect.

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