Natural England (NE) is temporarily revoking three general licences in England that allow the shooting and trapping of most pest bird species from Thursday 25 April 2019 onwards to prevent serious damage or disease; to preserve public health or public safety; and to conserve flora or fauna.
These general licences (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including carrion and hooded crows, magpies and woodpigeon and cover control methods including shooting; the destruction of eggs and nests; and the use of cage traps such as larsen traps, larsen mates and multi-catch traps.
During that time, anyone needing to control one of these 16 bird species where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will need to apply for an individual licence.
NE says that it is going to simplify the application process for individual licences and details will be available on its gov.uk website on Thursday 25 April 2019.
Why is this happening?
NE says this was not their choice but the result of a legal challenge against them and they are trying to find a solution. The British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC) is speaking to NE and updates will follow. Petitions have been set up already to try and reverse the licensing changes.