Update: General Licences for Controlling Wild Birds

The GWCT welcomes the arrival of Defra’s new General Licences, which are similar to the ones revoked by Natural England on 25th April. They may not be perfect, but it is clear they have carefully considered the 4,000 consultation responses which provided them with the information they needed to reach this stage. As ever, they are not exactly the same and those who use them must carefully review the licence conditions. One noticeable change is the restrictions around protected sites such as Special Protection Areas (SPA).
Defra are undertaking a wider review over the coming months to improve them further and the GWCT will continue to work closely with Defra to share our science to ensure those that manage our countryside have the right tools to do the job. In particular we are committed to ensuring wildlife managers working over protected sites have the ability to undertake effective control using these licences to prevent serious damage and to conserve flora and fauna.

You can read the press release we issued jointly with other organisations here.

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Chris Packham/Culling of Corvids

at 16:02 on 18/06/2019 by Frank Stevens

Chris Packham is undoubtedly a better naturalist than myself but my observations over some 70 years are that corvids (helped by foxes and black-backed gulls) are responsible for much destruction of songbird and ground nesting young birds. Last year I saw a magpie on my shed beating a young blackbird to death followed by the rest of the nestlings from the same nest. My children, when young, used to enjoy watching young lapwings on the edge of a marsh in Scotland. In subsequent years the lapwings have been seen no more - gulls and crows have done for them. Chris would know this but is in denial!

General Licence.

at 11:51 on 17/06/2019 by Phillip G Walker

I saw Mr Avery,s blog on Saturday and his intention to challenge the new GL. I respectfully submitted my own observations of C/ Crow and Magpie predation ,and those involving sheep and lambs. I sought some understanding and a wish that some common sense prevailed. Whilst I was pleased with the number of likes I got Mr A did not respond personally. I do not believe he will ever accept the arguments of gwct as he appears to have an anti shooting agenda and now see,s you firmly supporting shooters. It is important you maintain a research basis for any opinion you give. That is your strength. Is there such a basis for putting wood pigeon on the quarry list providing fora short breeding season though I understand they breed all year ?. Phillip Walker

Packham the hypocrite

at 9:45 on 17/06/2019 by Paul Bowman

Packham the hypocrite. Chris Packham has revealed that he is in favour of culling animals that pose a threat to species lower down the food chain when there are no natural predators. In an interview with the Radio Times ahead of a new series of Springwatch, the naturalist said that, while opposing various culling programmes he regards as ineffective, there are times when it is appropriate to selectively kill animals. As in the case of deer, which are routinely culled in the UK and which, the scientific evidence shows, are hurting nightingale populations by damaging the understorey, or shrub layer, of the trees that they nest in, he said. “Overgrazing by deer is driving the decline in nightingales. Since we have no large predators – no lynx, no wolf, no bear – we have no choice in the UK but to manage our deer population otherwise we’ll lose nightingales,” he said. “Scientifically informed culling is unfortunately an artefact of our lives. If we want to preserve a rich mosaic of species and habitats, we have to accept that,” he continued. He is aware that some people may be surprised by his qualified support of culling after hit the headlines last month for his opposition to shooting 16 types of birds, such as crows, pigeons and magpies, which advocates say amounts to necessary culling, in part to protect the nests of small birds. “All the scientific studies show there is no relationship between an abundance of magpies and sparrowhawks, for instance, with a decline in songbirds. The decline in small birds is due to the way that we manage our landscape,” he said. “[But] I have never been opposed to culling, and I’ve never been opposed to shooting. The shooting that I am opposed to is the illegal persecution of birds of prey and the unsustainable shooting of endangered species such as woodcock and snipe which are declining rapidly,” he said. https://inews.co.uk/?fbclid=IwAR2YMC6r6WjPQEJxY31_QzGAp89ssoanYIr3D-v5Cw__xe9JIWj_LtHXBBM

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