With the current General Licences set to expire on February 29th, many of you have been in touch asking for advice on what happens next.
Natural England has set out changes to licences for the lethal control of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls in England. If you wish to control either of these species, you must now submit an individual licence application. You are encouraged to do so before 15th March so that Natural England can assess the number of applications.
They have also made a distinction between control in rural areas, where populations overall are considered to be in decline, and urban populations of gulls, which are faring better. Full details are available here.
Unfortunately, we are no clearer on Defra’s plans for General Licensing arrangements for other species or indeed what arrangements are being made for control of pest species on or near protected sites. We are grateful to those of you who gave us feedback on the use of general licences last year. We submitted this report to Defra in early December as part of the General Licence review, and urge Defra to announce their plans are for licensing arrangements in England as soon as possible.
It’s vital that those who are working hard to protect vulnerable breeding birds, ensure the welfare of livestock and maintain their crops, are given information ahead of the breeding season. We – and those who depend on the management of pest species - cannot afford a repeat of the chaos experienced in 2019.
To help us ensure those making the decisions about General Licences listen not only to the science, but also to the reality on the ground, please donate below using a payment card or PayPal: