Three general licenses revoked by Natural England
Natural England has announced that it is revoking three general licenses for controlling specific wild bird species. The licenses, which cover 16 species of birds, are being revoked on Thursday 25th April 2019.
The 16 species of birds covered by these licenses include several members of the crow family, Canada geese, as well as some pigeons and gulls.
The change is being brought in following a legal challenge to the manner in which the licenses have been issued.
Natural England is now working to speedily put in place some alternative measures over the next few weeks.
These new measures will hopefully allow lawful controlling of these bird species’ numbers to be carried out where required.
Natural England’s decision to withdraw the open general licences will cause chaos and uncertainty in the rural community.
Peter Glenser QC – BASC chairman
Meanwhile, if you do need to control one of these 16 species of bird, and have no reasonable non-lethal alternative available, you will have to apply for an individual license.
Natural England has said that this action is a part of an ongoing planned review of general and class licenses which will be completed later this year. The organisation’s interim chief executive Marian Spain said: ‘We recognise this change will cause disruption for some people, but we are working hard to ensure it is kept to a minimum.
“We will bring forward interim measures as quickly as possible as the first stage of our planned review of the licences. We want to make sure our licensing system is robust and proportionate, taking into account the needs of wildlife and people.”
In a statement released by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the organisation’s chairman Peter Glenser QC said: “Natural England’s decision to withdraw the open general licences will cause chaos and uncertainty in the rural community.
“To take such a step without consultation and proper notice is utterly unacceptable from a statutory body and leaves many people at risk of breaking the law at a crucial time of the year when their need to control pests could not be more pressing.”
BASC’s head of game and gundogs Glynn Evans said that this time of year was an important one for the controlling of predators and pests in order to protect growing crops and vulnerable wildlife.
He went on to say: “We will be accepting Natural England’s offer of an urgent meeting to discuss these changes and the other issues around general licences. We will update our members at the earliest opportunity.”
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