Last minute proposals to remove hooded crows from the pest birds list in England have been stopped after intervention by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Jim Paice following lobbying by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Natural England (NE) gave just two weeks notice of its intention to change the wording of the 2012 open general licences, which give the legal authority for individuals to shoot and trap pest birds. One of these changes would have made it an offence to shoot, trap or use hooded crows as decoy birds in England from 1st January.
BASC felt this was insufficient consultation and made its concerns clear to officials at NE before approaching the Minister. Mr Paice listened to BASC’s and other organisations’ concerns and has intervened to ask officials at Natural England to leave the English general licences unchanged for this year to allow proper consultation.
BASC’s Dr Conor O’Gorman said: “Proper consultation must be undertaken before significant changes are made to the legal basis for shooting and trapping pest birds. In this case there was no consultation and we are grateful for the Minister’s intervention to allow that consultation to take place. What Natural England wanted to do would have effectively removed with a stroke of the pen the legal basis by which people can control hooded crows in England.”
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