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.