GWCT members help Defra reach a decision on General Licences

The submission from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, including response from over 450 members, helped to inform the decision to reinstate General Licences, according to the Government response to the consultation.

A combination of scientific evidence and first-hand accounts from those managing the countryside proved important in leading Defra to state that “the call for evidence showed that large numbers of users were facing practical and urgent problems as a result of the revocation of the previous general licences. The Secretary of State concluded that the wealth of evidence relating to these highlighted problems indicates a clear need for licensing for certain purposes, and general licences are appropriate given that common issues are likely to arise.”


(Reports from GWCT members)

GWCT members were quoted in the evidence gathering for the impact of Canada geese, Egyptian geese and pigeons, while our scientific research on predation by corvids formed a significant part of the evidence. The Defra report quotes findings from our studies at Salisbury Plain, Otterburn and Loddington, showing how the removal of predators resulted in higher productivity of a suite of declining species such as grey partridge, lapwing and curlew and, in turn, enhanced spring breeding populations of these species.

Head of advisory at the GWCT, Roger Draycott is pleased to see the contribution of GWCT members recognised “That Defra has used our science and our members’ responses in their decision-making is hugely encouraging. Thank you to all members who took the time to share their experiences – you made a real difference. In fact, none of our submission – scientific or practical – would have been possible without the support of our members”.

Defra will lead a future review of the longer-term general licensing arrangements, working closely with Natural England, and intend to launch an initial public consultation by the end of summer 2019.

The Government response to the call for evidence can be found here and the GWCT submission is available on our website here.

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Pigeons and magpies

at 19:41 on 16/07/2019 by Stephen giles

I have so far this year seen magpies carry off young birds in their claws and the pigeons are increasingly coming into my garden eating lettuce and strawberry’s and as for seagulls they are nesting all around the area with a terrific noise in the mornings

nesting birds

at 12:26 on 16/07/2019 by jackie jarvis

Hi I breed rare ducks & geese, I among many of my friends doing the same work, have found that Jackdaws, Magpies, Crows, must be controlled in the breeding season, this year I myself & others have lost 3/4 of our eggs to them. They break them eat them, intimidate & scare of the nesting birds. but it is not just our birds, the nesting song birds iv seen them take there eggs, but more than that they go in the nest & carry of the baby chicks. The wild bird population can not sustain such attacks they are declining every year, there are to many Jackdaws, Magpies, Crows, they have no predators to keep the numbers down only man. Same goes for Badgers lovely though they are they have no predators to keep there numbers down & the hedgehog will be extinct unless the badger numbers are reduces in areas were hedgehogs are, I have 6 hogs & lost one just the other day to a badger it ripped it apart, I just happened to be counting bats & spotted it to late to save the hog. No one seems to want to help the hog from badgers. not to mention saving the ground nesting birds from badgers, they kill young & eat the eggs.

Defra & General Licence

at 11:52 on 16/07/2019 by Philip Merricks

As someone who has responsibility for the conservation management of our lowland wet grassland Elmley National Nature Reserve which now holds large numbers of breeding waders, results from our ten year research programme into Lapwing chick productivity have very clearly shown that unless each and every component of conservation management, including predator control, is undertaken chick productivity will be severely compromised. Which can do nothing else than hasten the decline in breeding numbers of this quintessential farmland bird species. This research programme has shown that the ability to continue to maintain appropriate and targeted predator control is crucial for ground nesting farmland birds such as the Lapwing.

General License

at 20:11 on 15/07/2019 by Ian Paterson

There seems to be the perception by the media that the General License is a no holds barred condition that allows the shooter to kill all that is seen. This, as we all know, is nowhere like the case with most control being more modest. Control is in the main carried out as and when required by the responsible person and is never close to the wholescale killing that is implied. I think this should be made more aware to the general public, and those who make up these General Licenses should realise this to be the case, we do not have the time to be permanently killing all that comes in range and is on the list. There is always a good balance to be had, a certain level of preditor can always be tolerated.

Defra's response to GWCT's submission regarding General Licences

at 10:23 on 12/07/2019 by Peter Smith

As one of the 450+ GWCT members who provided evidence for the submission, I was very pleased to see that what I had written regarding the effects on the breeding success of birds on a small Sussex nature reserve without effective control of magpies and carrion crows, was included word for word without the need for editing. The GWCT submission was certainly impressive, given the short time frame. It is great that Defra clearly read and used this evidence wisely. We are not just voices crying in the wilderness - we are being heard !

General License

at 9:48 on 12/07/2019 by Calvert McKibbin

While the work of the GWCT is without equal in this field,individual responses of GWCT members and BASC members along with individuals of all countryside organisations has been very persuasive. One of the most powerful representations in my opinion came when the heads of all countryside organisations signed a letter to the minister (I believe). We need more of this cooperation in public, for united we stand.............

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