BASC urges members to respond as General Licence consultation launches in Scotland

BASC is urging members to respond to the General Licence consultation launched by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) today.

The 12-week consultation is examining the three main general licences for controlling wild birds in Scotland.

The general licences already in existence continue to apply and SNH has said it welcomes views from those operating under the licences or those with a more general interest in them.

Dr Colin Shedden, BASC’s Scotland director, said: “SNH has taken it time to consider its options after seeing the chaos that ensued in England when general licences were revoked without notice or consultation.

“SNH has kept its lines of communication open so that we knew the consultation was coming. Now that it is here, it is important that all those with an interest in shooting in Scotland respond to ensure SNH hears their views on the importance of having a robust general licence system that is fit for purpose.

“It is crucial that people take the time to send in those views. BASC will also shortly be launching a survey to gather an evidence base that can be forwarded to SNH before the end of the consultation.”

BASC chairman Eoghan Cameron said: “Following the chaos in England, SNH has been keen to reassure the rural community that any review of its systems would take into account the views of the public and other stakeholders.

“BASC will ensure those views are expressed loud and clear. SNH has recognised that there is a depth of feeling around this issue in Scotland and BASC will remain in close contact with SNH over all aspects of species licensing.”

The consultation follows the ongoing legal challenge to general licences in England and SNH said: “While the legal system in Scotland is different, we feel it is appropriate to ensure that our licences take into account the implications of those licences.”

SNH is looking for feedback specifically on the three most commonly used General Licences: those covering conserving wild birds, preventing damage to agricultural interests, and protecting public health and safety.

Robbie Kernahan, SNH’s head of wildlife management, said:  “The consultation, along with our ongoing work, will provide us with valuable feedback – this will allow us to consider if we need to make changes to the current set of licenses for 2020.

“We would like to reassure those who are currently operating under the current 2019 General Licences in Scotland that these remain in place, allowing those who comply with the conditions to continue to use them.”

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