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IMPORTANT: GENERAL LICENCES IN ENGLAND REVOKED

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL SHOOTERS AND TRAPPERS WHO USE THE GENERAL LICENCES TO CONTROL PEST SPECIES OF BIRDS IN ENGLAND ONLY.

IMPORTANT: GENERAL LICENCES IN ENGLAND REVOKED

PLEASE READ AND SHARE THIS INFORMATION AND THE BELOW WEBSITE LINK WITH THOSE YOU KNOW.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/general-licences-for-bird-control-major-changes-to-licensing-requirements

From 25th April (Thursday this week!) Natural England (NE) is temporarily revoking three general licences for controlling pest species of wild birds. See news link above. This follows a legal challenge by celebrity-backed anti-shooters against the way the licences were issued.

Rather than place the onus on the person using a General Licence to justify that non-lethal control methods are ineffective before exercising lethal control, NE were required by law to themselves justify that non-lethal methods were ineffective. They apparently got it the wrong way round and it seems that for years the GLs were issued incorrectly. NE are victims of a self-induced legal blunder going back years, which Chris Packham and his box of frogs cronies are now exploiting.

The General Licences affected are:
General licence GL04: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to prevent serious damage or disease
General licence GL05: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to preserve public health or public safety
General licence GL06: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to conserve wild birds or flora or fauna

These licences (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose and some gulls and pigeons. These are the principle licences used by SACS members and others to control pest wild bird species.

Natural England has given no indication when this temporary issue will be resolved, but has emphasised that it will be looking to issue new GLs as soon as possible. In the meantime, NE is offering a simplified way to apply for Individual Licences for those who need to control wild birds. This will apparently go live on its website from the 25th April, the date of revocation.

After 25th April anyone continuing to make use of GLs 04, 05 and 06 and who has not successfully applied for an Individual Licence from NE may be acting unlawfully. Please check the NE General Licences webpage on 25th April and follow directions to apply for Individual Licences as required e.g. to control pigeons or corvids causing serious damage and where non-lethal methods are considered to be ineffective.

Alex Stoddart of SACS: “We are disgusted by Natural England's lack of spine on the matter of control of wild birds to prevent disease, damage to crops and livestock and negative conservation impacts. It is clear that they have folded under pressure from celebrity-backed anti-shooting fringe elements. We are further frustrated by Natural England's total failure to engage on this licence revocation despite a full month of legal proceedings.

We await an update from NE, which we will pass on to members ASAP. Meantime, please monitor the NE General Licences webpage for more information from 25th April. Remember, this is an England only issue just now and we note Natural England chair's public comments that they had no choice and are working on a solution. We will keep members updated"