BASC has welcomed Natural England’s decision to issue a licence for the control of up to 10 buzzards to prevent serious damage to young pheasants.
Natural England, the government’s licensing authority, has taken account of a recent High Court decision which accepted there is a need to balance the protection of wild birds against the requirement to prevent serious damage to livestock.
Glynn Evans, BASC’s head of game and deer management, said: “There are, quite rightly, strict criteria and tests to be met before the issuing of any license to control a protected species. Any control must not adversely affect the conservation status of a species.
“The buzzard population is increasing faster than virtually any other British bird. With over 60,000 pairs in the UK, the issuing of such a license clearly will not have an impact on overall numbers. It will, however, allow the control of a very small number of birds which are causing serious and specific damage to livestock.”
John Thornley OBE, vice-chairman of BASC council, said: “Natural England has carefully followed due process in making this decision. It should be noted the law has allowed for licences like this since 1981. It is a common sense decision which should be applauded.”