General Licences – what happens now?

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:


Pigeon damage to oil seed rape

at 18:43 on 04/02/2020 by Dennis Fletcher

Serious concerns must be raised with regard to the damage pigeons are causing to oil seed rape crops,and this a mild winter to date.Some local farms have suffered severe damage despite the continual use of gas guns,banger ropes,scarecrows and kites along with regular visits.All at a cost which will no doubt be reflected in the price of harvested seed. We must not endure another General Licence fiasco this spring when farmers will endeavour to drill a wide range of food crops,many to compensate for those lost due to flood conditions in the autumn and winter months.

General Licences

at 13:37 on 04/02/2020 by Jack Orchel

A big thankyou to GWCT staff for continuing to publicise the benefits of predator control, particularly in upland areas. Since 2016 a Merlin Study Group (comprising gamekeepers licensed by and reporting data to the British Trust For Ornithology) has been recording habitat selection and breeding success of this red-listed falcon on seven Estates in part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. During June and July 2019 more than 45 young fledged from 16 sites monitored by contributors to this moorland bird conservation project. Only three nesting failures have been recorded since 2016.

General Licences

at 12:19 on 04/02/2020 by John Manners

Please keep up the good work. It is very important to be able to control predators especially around our lapwing project in the Avon Valley. Donation made via paypal

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