06 December 2019

General Licence Survey backed by thousands of GWCT supporters


PRAISE is being heaped on the 3,000 supporters who have completed the GWCT General Licences Survey – with the responses now in the hands of rural heavyweights Defra (you can download the summary here).

These responses have been collated since September, when the GWCT issued a rallying cry for the rural community affected by the change in General Licences to complete its survey.

Produced by the GWCT following talks with Defra, the survey collected information on the species controlled by respondents, the reasons why this control was necessary, the alternatives that had been tried and the effectiveness of them.

It provides fascinating first-hand accounts from the people on the ground who use the licences of the relative effectiveness of different types of non-lethal control. It also provides a significant body of practitioner-based evidence of the impacts that a range of different common pest and predatory species can have on other wildlife and on crops and livestock.

Roger Draycott, who is head of advisory services at GWCT, said: “The survey provides a wealth of new practical information from the people that actually use the general licences as part of their everyday land management activities.

We thank everyone who responded to the survey and all the organisations who encouraged their members to participate.”

Defra is currently reviewing the General Licensing system that operates in England.

It comes after Natural England decided to revoke the three general licences for controlling wild birds, following a legal challenge by campaigners at Wild Justice, fronted by BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham.

According to Defra, the review which they undertook earlier in the year highlighted some areas where evidence was currently lacking, so they launched a public survey which closed on the 5th December which asked more specific questions to feed in to the development of a future licensing system.

This survey, alongside stakeholder meetings that the GWCT look forward to participating in during January, will help inform future licensing arrangements.

You can read the results in full here

Furthermore, the GWCT is asking you to pledge your support to our General Licence fundraising appeal.

We're asking if you will help fund our challenging programme of work to ensure that those in charge listen not only to the science, but also the reality on the ground when controlling pest bird species. You can donate quickly and easily here:

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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