GWCT Wales Response to NRW General Licences Vote

Magpie Eating Pheasants Eggs www.davidmasonimages.com

By Matthew Goodall, GWCT Head of Education

On March 24th the NRW board met and voted in favour of approving several changes to the General Licences (you can read the letter we sent them, outlining our concerns here). The major change will see magpie, jackdaw and jay all removed from GL 004 – ‘Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of conserving wild birds’ when the current licence expires after the 30th of June and the new licences are issued on the 1st of July.

Going forward, if you wish to conserve wild birds under a general licence in Wales you will only be able to control carrion crow. Another change is that for GL 004 you will only be able to undertake control between the 1st of February and the 31st of August. As with the current licence, you will only be able to undertake control to protect the eggs and chicks of species listed in Annex 1 of the licence - which are those categorised as Birds of Conservation Concern (BoCC) in Wales. However, we understand that the list will be shortened further to remove several species which do not breed in Wales.

The above changes to General Licence 004 are extremely concerning, especially the removal of magpie given they are widely recognised as being a serious nest predator and can supress the recovery of many species such as yellowhammer, song thrush, chaffinch, and blackbird for example. Although admittedly chaffinch and blackbird are not currently a species of conservation concern and according to NRW would not warrant additional protection anyway.

We have also been told that the list of protected sites in Annex 2 of each licence has been reviewed and reduced. Annex 2 lists sites where actions under the licences are not authorised i.e., you cannot carry out control under the licences on those sites listed. In theory, reducing the Annex 2 list means there will be more protected sites where control can take place under the General Licences.

General Licence users can also expect additional conditions and advice to appear either in or alongside the new licences to be issued on the 1st of July. The additional content is expected to relate specifically to trapping, similarly to GL33 in England which defines trap types authorised as an example.

Please note that magpie and jackdaw will remain as a controllable species on GL 001 ‘Licence to kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit or to prevent the spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit’ which allows the control of Canada goose, woodpigeon, feral pigeon, carrion crow, jackdaw, and magpie. Please also not that GL 001 is not restricted to a certain time of the year either.

With predation control finally being recognised by Government and the wider public as a key component of species recovery and the conservation of biodiversity in general, it is incredibly disheartening that NRW are making these changes which have the potential to be seriously detrimental to conservation in Wales.

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Genera Licence Changes Wales

at 17:52 on 29/03/2022 by Walter Stephen Hanks

It would be very interesting to make a Freedom Of Information request to NRW Wales asking if there have been any declared conflicts of interest by any NRW board members or any other employee that were involved in this decision? Asking also if any employees involved with evidence gathering on this subject or any board members are supporters or members of Wild Justice?

Licenses, Licensing and Licensees.

at 13:24 on 29/03/2022 by Alec Swan

Are we starting to wake up to the rational, the very raison d'être behind a licensing system which at best, achieves nothing, but at its worst passes to those with no genuine interest or experience in or of our environment, a level of beneath the surface control? Are we starting to wake up to the erosion of our Rights, Liberties and privileges and are we finally and though late in the day, awakening to the attendant level of control being exerted?

general licences wales

at 11:19 on 29/03/2022 by john maher

more stupidity

Wild Justice

at 11:05 on 29/03/2022 by chris Forrest

Wild Justice are behind this legislation and if you read their newsletter they say of the 600 responses to the consultation a high proportion were WJ supporters. that is rent a mob who do not understand conservation! Shameful!

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