General Licences - England

Defra general licences consultation

We are now in the next phrase of Defra’s review of general licences in England. Defra is hosting several stakeholder workshops, which BASC will be participating in.

There is a new online public survey that closes on 5 December. Click here to take part.

The survey will take around 30 minutes to complete and is not a quick tick boxing survey.

1. BASC recommend that you download a copy of all the survey questions before you complete the online survey. Click here for a pdf of all the survey questions.

2. At the start of the survey you will be asked for your name and email address, general questions on how you use general licences and which organisations you are a member of.

3. In sections A to C there are questions asking you to choose bird species that you think should continue to be included on general licences and up to five bird species that you think should be added to general licences.

Your answers to these questions will only be registered if you include reasons to support each of your answers. BASC recommend that you use your own field observations and experience as reasons to support your answers. Practitioner evidence during the review is going to be very important to cover areas where scientific evidence might be limited.

You do not have to answer all the questions.

4. We recommend that you only answer the questions where you feel you can provide a valid reason to back up your answer. Remember, just ticking lots of boxes with no reasons given is pointless as your answers will not be registered.

5. In section D there are questions asking for your views and experience about non-lethal methods of managing bird species on general licences.

6. In section E there are questions about what kinds of records you keep and how long it takes you to make these records.

7. In Section F there are questions inviting any wider views on general licences.

Current English general licences

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.

From one-minute past midnight on Friday 14 June, three new general licences were issued for bird pest control in England for the killing and taking of species such as woodpigeon, feral pigeon, carrion crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie, rook and Canada goose.

Click here for Defra general licences GL34, GL35 and GL36

Click here for Defra’s announcement on the three new general licences

Click here for Defra FAQs, decision tree and advice on the overall licensing system

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 on this topic

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 29 February 2020 and 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 includes:

  • 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.

Significant progress has been made towards a workable bird pest licensing system with the issuing of Defra’s general licences, but more work needs to be done in advance of a Defra public consultation this summer.

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 on or within 300m of a European protected site is 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 573019 or email

 

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