Pests news from BPCA

13 February 2020

GENERAL LICENCES: six licences reissued for control of wild birds

Defra has announced that six general licences for the control of wild birds in England will be reissued on a temporary basis ahead of new licences coming into force on 1 August 2020.

5 New temporary general licences issued by defra

Following a legal challenge by Wild Justice in April 2019, Natural England revoked three general licences and subsequently issued three licences (GL26, GL28 and GL31) to cover some of the species and purposes covered by the original licences.

Defra then took over from NE and issued three interim licences (GL34, 35 and 36) while the longer term licensing requirements were reviewed.

NE’s licences have remained in place, since they allow for specified activity on European protected sites which are not covered by Defra’s licences.

These interim licences expire on 29 February.

As a result, all six of these licences (GL26, GL28, GL31, GL34, GL35 and GL36) will be reissued on a temporary basis from 1 March to 31 July.

The general licences allow users to kill or take certain species of wild birds for a range of purposes such as the protection of livestock and crops, conservation, or public health and safety.

No action is required by licence users, beyond the ongoing requirement to act in accordance with the licence conditions.

The current licences GL26, GL28, GL31, GL34, GL35 and GL36 will be reissued from 1 March to 31 July.

Defra announced a longer-term review of general licensing in June 2019.

An online survey to gather key information from stakeholders closed on 5 December 2019, receiving over 4,400 responses from organisations, licence users and other stakeholders.

Defra intends to publish new licences in early July to allow user groups to become acquainted with the changes before they officially come into force on 1 August.

This extensive consultation and review process will be completed in the coming months, with the new licences coming into force on 1 August.

BPCA Technical manager, Dee Ward-Thompson, responded to the news:

"We're pleased Defra are taking the time needed to conduct a robust review and involve all relevant stakeholders.

"BPCA will be involved in supporting Defra to get licences fit for purpose and keeping you informed of all updates."


GL26 Carrion crows: licence to kill or take them to prevent serious damage to livestock
GL28 Canada geese: licence to kill or take them for public health and safety
GL31 Woodpigeons: licence to kill or take them to prevent serious damage to crops
GL34 Licence to kill or take wild birds to conserve wild birds and to conserve flora and fauna
GL35 Licence to kill or take wild birds to preserve public health or public safety
GL36 Licence to kill or take wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters

Read all about the changes to licensing for bird control in our latest article.


Source: Defra press release

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