02 May 2019

BPCA talks general licence changes with Natural England

Yesterday (Wednesday 1 May 2019) BPCA met with Natural England to discuss how pest management professionals can continue to protect public health after general licences for bird control were revoked last week.


  • BPCA has met with Natural England to ensure members can continue to protect public health and safety after three general licences were revoked
  • We have clarified that you can still lethally control birds (to protect public health) by applying for an individual licence and you don’t need to wait for a reply to conduct the work
  • You don’t need a new licence every time you start a job, as long as it’s not for a different species or reason not covered in your existing licence
  • BPCA has stressed the importance of prioritising pigeon and gull general licences
  • BPCA will see final draft versions of some new general licences and will be a part of the scheduled future consultation into wildlife licences this summer.

We have clarified

BPCA Chief Executive Ian Andrews, Technical Manager Dee Ward-Thompson, Servicing Committee Chair Martin Rose-King and Nick Burchell from member company Ecolab, met with Caroline Cotterell Director of Strategy Implementation at Natural England.

Ian Andrew said:

“It was a positive meeting, and we all left feeling as if Natural England appreciate the important work pest management companies do to protect public health and the environment.

“Natural England is in full agreement with us that revoking of three general licences so quickly was less than ideal – however, it’s clear that with the legal challenge Natural England was given little room to manoeuvre.

“They have confirmed to us that we pest management professionals can continue to lethally control bird species through the interim measures we’ve published previously”.

You don't need

Interim measures for lethal control

The interim measure means that until an appropriate new general licence is published, you must apply for an individual licence.

Once you’ve applied for a licence, that licence will cover you for the bird species and the reason for control in all instance in England. That means you don’t need a new licence every time you start a job, as long as it’s not for a different species or reason not covered in your existing licence (until the end of the year).

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager said:

“We also had clarification that as long as you have applied for the licence you will not need to wait for the licence to be approved, as long as it is for:

  • “preserving public health or public safety or air safety;
  • “preventing the spread of disease; or
  • “preventing serious damage to livestock, their foodstuffs, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters. You must also be able to show that there was no other satisfactory solution available for preventing such serious damage.

“Once you’ve done this, it’s basically business as usual - however, there is a requirement to report when you have completed the job via email.”

More details

Nick Burchell, a representative from Ecolab that oversees a lot of bird management work, was satisfied that the interim process appeared to be simple and was not too onerous – even for an organisation of their size.

Martin Rose-King, BPCA Servicing Committee Chair said:

“Everyone at BPCA is aware that many BPCA Servicing members will be concerned by the changes and the interruption to their businesses.

“Overall I’m very pleased with how the meeting went and can’t see a reason why our Servicing members can’t continue to undertake bird work and maintain the high standards control required.

“Fill in the application form properly, send it to Natural England, and continue to protect public health”.

BPCA and NE will work together

New licences for pest management professionals imminent

Natural England has assured us revised general licences are imminent and BPCA has stressed the importance of pigeon and gull control from a public health and safety perspective.

An indicative timetable for new licences issued on a priority basis published by Natural England and is available to view here.

BPCA will have an opportunity to review some of these new licences as they’re published, however, these will have a very tight turn around as not to delay them being issued.

Natural England has said these new licences are temporary and BPCA will be consulted prior to publication to make sure that the pest management perspective is not overlooked during the review process.  

The wider review of wildlife licencing is due to take place over the summer months.


We will continue to keep you up to date as the new general licenses are issued.  

If any member company needs support during the interim phase please contact us directly.

+44 (0) 1332 294 288

Source: Online

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