Defra’s general licence report shines light on BASC members’ survey


The results from BASC’s members survey have been highlighted in Defra’s final report on their call for evidence on the future use of general licences.

Defra launched the call for evidence to seek views on the effectiveness and practicability of alternatives to killing or taking wild birds. BASC’s 46-page response included scientific evidence and practical experience, gathered from almost 30,000 responses to a member’s survey, and laid bare the damage caused by Natural England’s original decision to revoke the licences without consultation or notice.

Defra released their 109-page response this week and it summarises evidence used to underpin Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s decision on the new temporary general licences. The report describes the range of evidence considered and sets out Defra’s conclusions. It also confirms that a public consultation on the full review of licences will be issued in the summer but does not give a date.

Caroline Bedell, BASC’s director of conservation said: “The evidence provided by BASC, alongside other concerned parties and individuals, made clear the case for the reinstatement of the revoked general licences.

“The remarkable response by BASC’s members in a very short space of time allowed our research and science teams to submit important evidence that helped inform Michael Gove’s decision. It is reassuring to see that the efforts of our members have been acknowledged by Defra in this final report.

“Of course, this is only the end of the beginning and, with a full review of licences in England set for the late summer, much work still needs to be done. BASC will be keeping our members updated so that we can ensure we are in the best position to provide a licensing system that is truly fit for purpose.”