General Licences - England

General licences in England are currently issued by Defra. You don’t need to apply to use a general licence, but you are required by law to abide by their terms and conditions.

If you control pest species under general licences in England, you need to be aware that the current licences issued by Defra have been reissued on a temporary basis and expire on 31 July 2020.

Defra has announced that they will be reissuing new licences from 1 August 2020.

Here are the current licences:

Gull licence

If you wish to control lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls you require a specific licence. Natural England closed all applications on Sunday 15 March although they have stated that some applications may be considered after this date.

Guidance on completing the forms are available here:

What is BASC doing?

BASC issued new guidance around the use of general licences in England and provided an update of the association’s contact with the government. This included lobbying Defra on the impact of lapsed general licences. Defra has now granted an extension to the existing general licences until 31 July 2020. 

What you need to know

For further information on England general licences, please call: 01244 573 019

Click on the drop down FAQs below for more information

No.

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.

No.

Defra’s general licences allow preventative action to be taken so you do not need to wait until damage has occurred.

Yes.

The general licences require that, before and alongside their use, reasonable endeavours are made to achieve the purpose in question using lawful methods not covered by the licences, unless such endeavours would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate in the circumstances.

Defra advises users to keep a record of problems and their use of other lawful methods, but you do not need to submit those records to Defra or Natural England. 

Click here for more detailed advice from Defra.

Yes.

Defra’s general licences allow preventative action to be taken and there is no restriction on using decoys, shooting on stubbles, roost shooting etc.

Yes.

Defra’s general licences allow the use of Larsen traps and other cage traps to trap pest birds.

Defra general licences GL34, GL35 and GL36 for England are valid until 31 July 2020. They cover the majority of pest bird species and the purposes to kill or take them that were allowed in the general licences revoked by Natural England in April.

The purposes covered by the three licences include:

  • Conservation of wild birds and flora and fauna
  • Preservation of public health and public safety
  • Prevention of serious damage to crops and livestock

Control methods allowed under Defra’s general licences include: shooting, the destruction of eggs and nests and the use of cage traps such as Larsen traps, Larsen mates and multi-catch traps.

Defra’s general licences require you to have made “reasonable endeavours” to achieve the purpose of the general licence before killing or taking pest birds under each general licence.

You do not need to apply for these licences but we would recommend that you download and read them.

Collared dove, lesser black-backed gull and herring gull are not included in any of Defra’s general licences. If you need to control these species then you need to apply for an individual licence from Natural England.

Click here for Defra general licence GL34 to conserve wild birds and flora and fauna

This general licence allows the killing or taking of the following pest bird species for the purpose of conserving wild birds and flora and fauna:

  • carrion crow
  • jackdaw
  • jay
  • magpie
  • rook
  • Canada goose
  • Egyptian goose
  • monk parakeet
  • ring-necked parakeet
  • sacred ibis
  • Indian house crow

This general licence allows the use of Larsen traps and other cage traps and the use of the following birds as decoys: carrion crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie, rook, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet.

Click here for Defra general licence GL35 to preserve public health or public safety

This general licence allows the killing or taking of the following pest bird species for the purpose of preserving public health or public safety:

  • carrion crow
  • jackdaw
  • magpie
  • feral pigeon
  • rook
  • Canada goose
  • monk parakeet

This general licence allows the use of Larsen traps and other cage traps and the use of the following birds as decoys: carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, monk parakeet and rook.

Click here for Defra general licence GL36 to prevent serious damage to crops and livestock

This general licence allows the killing or taking of the following pest bird species for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters:

  • carrion crow
  • jackdaw
  • magpie
  • feral pigeon
  • rook
  • woodpigeon
  • Canada goose
  • monk parakeet
  • ring-necked parakeet
  • Egyptian goose

This general licence allows the use of Larsen traps and other cage traps and the use of the following birds as decoys: carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, rook, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet.

Defra general licences GL34, GL35 and GL36 do not authorise the killing or taking of pest birds in European Protected Sites (Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation or Ramsar sites) or within 300m of these sites.

For this situation you need to apply to Natural England for an individual licence using application form A08 unless the bird pest control you wish to undertake is on or within 300m of a European protected site. If this is the case you will be permitted by another general licence.

Click here to apply for an individual licence for bird pest control on or within 300m of a European Protected Site

Click here for more information from Defra on bird pest control on or within 300m of a European Protected Site

As per the previous general licences that were revoked by Natural England, if you are carrying out bird pest control under a general licence on a SSSI, you also need Natural England consent.

Contact your local Natural England office if you do not have consent or are unsure.

Click here for more information from Defra on bird pest control on SSSIs

If you are a BASC member and need further advice on general licences, please contact our game and gamekeeping team on 01244 573 019 or email

 

You need to apply to Natural England for an individual licence using application form A08. These need to be completed by 15 March 2020 although applications after this date may be considered.

Click here to apply for an individual licence for bird pest control of lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls.

Further information is available:

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