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NEW GENERAL LICENCES FOR ENGLAND - LINKS AND INFO

NEW GENERAL LICENCES ISSUED FOR ENGLAND

NEW GENERAL LICENCES FOR ENGLAND - LINKS AND INFO

Further to our news post from yesterday (13th June 2019), Defra have now published three General licences to replace the ones that Natural England revoked earlier this year following a legal challenge.

These are relevant to those based in England or who shoot and trap pest birds in England. These new licences do not affect Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales where the current General Licences in those regions remain valid.

This morning, with farmer and gamekeeper members we have had an opportunity to review and discuss the new GLs, which are linked below.

GL36: To prevent serious damage to crops and livestock

GL36 permits the killing or taking of pest bird species Carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, woodpigeon, Canada goose, monk parakeet, ring-necked parakeet, Egyptian goose for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters.

Cage traps such as Larsen traps may be used with the following decoy species: carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, rook, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet.

GL34: To conserve wild birds, flora and fauna

GL34 permits the killing or taking of carrion crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie, rook, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, monk parakeet, ring-necked parakeet, sacred ibis, Indian house crow for the purpose of conserving wild birds and flora and fauna.

Cage traps such as Larsen traps may be used with the following decoy species: carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, rook, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet.

GL35: To preserve public health or public safety

This general licence allows the killing or taking of carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, Canada goose, monk parakeet for the purpose of preserving public health or public safety.

Cage traps such as Larsen traps may be used with the following decoy species: carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, rook, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet.

You, as a user, do not need to apply for these licences.
They are valid until 29th February 2020 and can be read and downloaded from the links above.

LICENCE CONDITIONS ISSUE

SACS is disappointed that Defra has continued to use Natural England’s condition wording that, even when lethal control under a General Licence is considered necessary, non-lethal methods such as scaring should continue to be used unless impractical, without effect or disproportionate.

“In accordance with section 16(1A)(a) of the 1981 Act, the Secretary of State is satisfied that, as regards the purposes covered by this licence, there is no other satisfactory solution.”

However, the licences stipulate: “before using this licence, reasonable endeavours must have been made to achieve the purpose in question using lawful methods not covered by this licence (unless their use would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate in the circumstances); and when using this licence, reasonable endeavours must continue to be made to achieve the purpose in question using lawful methods not covered by this licence (unless their use would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate in the circumstances).”

So, on the one hand the Secretary of State declares that at a national level context he is indeed satisfied there is no other satisfactory solution, yet he then continues to delegates the onus of satisfaction down to pigeon shooters, crow trappers and other licence users who must continue to use non-lethal scaring tactics unless they can prove they would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate. This is something SACS raised in relation to the Natural England GLs so incompempetently issued a few weeks ago. We will be raising this matter and others within the planned General Licence consultation phase later this year.

That said, and with the issue above highlighted, SACS welcomes these new General Licences in the round. They are an improvement.

RECORD KEEPING

The new GLs state: “Although this is not a legal requirement, it is recommended that users keep a record of their use of actions permitted by this licence, the problem addressed by such action, and the other lawful methods which have been used to resolve the problem.”

AS we have said before, SACS advises members who regularly make use of General Licences to keep a brief and simple notebook of contemporaneous notes to demonstrate compliance in the event of a member being challenged by a Wildlife Crime Officer. As some of you will be keenly aware, we have dealt with a number of such instances in the last 12 months.

CONTROL OF SPECIES NOT LISTED ON GENERAL LICENCES

If you or anyone else needs to control any species not listed in the three new General Licences then you should apply for an individual licence from Natural England.

CONTROLLING PEST BIRDS WITHIN 300M OF EUROPEAN PROTECTED SITES

Members please note that the three new GLs (GL34, GL35 and GL36) do not permit lethal control or taking of pest birds in or within 300 metres of European Protected Sites (SPAs, SACs or Ramsar locations). Defra has made it clear that this is an area for wider consultation later this year.

If this affects you, then you can either use the still-existing Natural England General Licences GL26 (Carrion Crows to protect livestock), GL31 (woodpigeon to prevent serious damage to crops) and GL28 (Canada geese for public health and safety) which do cover European Protected Sites, or, if these are not applicable, you should apply to Natural England for an individual licence.

SACS SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS

Since this recent General Licences situation kicked off, SACS has been inundated with thousands of calls, messages and requests for support and guidance. If you are a member, control pest birds in England, and unsure of any of the above information then please get in touch with us here: CONTACT SACS. Calls and emails are monitored 24/7. If lines are busy and you cannot get through, then leave a short message and we will call you back quickly.

We have also had a lot of calls from non SACS members looking for guidance because they could not get through to their own body or were not members of any farming or shooting representative body. We will always pick up the phone for you, but SACS is a member-focused association and it is with current members that our priority lies.

If in doubt give us a shout.