BASC tells BBC of continuing general licence chaos

BASC told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme that the current general licence situation continues to be “very, very difficult” for people to navigate.

As the rural community waits for Natural England to release more of the new licences, listeners heard Ian Danby, BASC’s head of biodiversity projects, explain how the current situation is impacting crops, livestock and vulnerable bird species.

Mr Danby said there is “a real pressure and a need for things to be resolved quickly”.

He added: “It is pretty much chaos, I’m not over-egging that,” and called for “serious action to make sure things are put right quickly so the countryside can function efficiently and well and lawfully before there’s a review Natural England are saying is going to be happening later in the summer.”

During the same programme, farming minister Robert Goodwill said he had met environment secretary Michael Gove to discuss the general licences.

Mr Goodwill, who is also a farmer, said: “I’ve had a meeting with Michael Gove. We have been talking about what we can do to ensure we get things back to normality very soon.

“It’s not just about controlling pests on farm crops but also about conservation. We have lapwings, golden plovers a number of endangered species that can be predated upon by these birds.

“We are keen to ensure things get back to normal as quickly as possible and whatever we do is legally watertight.”

The piece can be heard here from six minutes in: