General licences

All the latest news and advice concerning general licences and how they affect you.

General licences are issued by government agencies to provide a legal basis for people to carry out a range of activities relating to wildlife. By definition you do not need to apply for general licences but you are required by law to abide by their terms and conditions.

General licences are renewed annually in EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland. These general licences are made available on the websites of the relevant government agencies (such as Defra in England). They include licences relevant to all year round control of ‘pest birds’ such as carrion and hooded crows, magpies and woodpigeon.

Control methods allowed under general licence may include shooting, the destruction of eggs and nests, and the use of cage traps such as Larsen traps, Larsen mates and multi-catch traps.

Where there is a need to manage or control wildlife and such activity is not covered by a relevant general licence then an individual or specific licence may be applied for. These are issued by the relevant government agency in each country.

The latest news from BASC

General Licences 2023

Read our update on general licences in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland for 2023.