The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has called on Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to produce a fit for purpose general licence that seeks to “protect livelihoods, rural economies and the environment”.

The BASC response to the SNH consultation on the future use of general licences utilised data from a recent practitioner survey alongside peer-reviewed academic literature. The response has given a detailed account of the reasons for and extent of control of the species currently listed on the general licence.

In addition, BASC is supportive of the inclusion of ravens and greylag geese in selected areas under general licence 2 which aims to prevent serious damage to livestock and crops. It has been documented in the BASC survey that ravens often attack livestock, including lambs and ewes; while resident greylag geese often cause agricultural damage.

The SNH consultation is part of a review which will see the new general licences coming into effect in 2020.

BASC Scotland director, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “Our response to the SNH general licences consultation is robust and far-reaching. Through our survey we have been able to complement the existing academic literature with the practitioners’ work. Consequently, we have been able to highlight the importance and scale of usage of the current set of licences, as well as signposting the potential economic ramifications of removing certain species.

“We hope that SNH will appreciate the scale and breadth of our response which has combined data from over 1,100 practitioners across Scotland. SNH should ensure that the new general licences are efficient and fit for purpose in order to protect livelihoods, rural economies and the environment.”

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