Laws which allow the control of pest birds in Northern Ireland are to remain unchanged this year.
General licences are issued annually in NI by the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) and provide the legal basis for people to use a range of methods to control certain species of birds classed as pests.
The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), monitors general licences across the UK and works with issuing bodies for the benefit of shooting. BASC had been in contact with DAERA in late August regarding general licences in Northern Ireland which have since been renewed.
General licences are renewed annually in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.
People do not need to apply for general licences but are required by law to abide by their terms and conditions.
In Northern Ireland, general licences provide a legal basis for the control of woodpigeon, feral pigeon, crow, magpie, rook, jackdaw, greater black-backed gull, herring gull, lesser black-backed gull, house sparrow and starling.
BASC NI director Tommy Mayne said: “BASC welcomes the fact that the General Licences have been renewed as they allow the year-round control of pest birds such as magpie and woodpigeon amongst others. Permitted control methods allowed under general licence may include shooting, the destruction of eggs and nests, and the use of cage traps, all of which are essential control measures”.
BASC Council member and Chairman of the BASC Northern Ireland Advisory Committee Oliver McCullough said: “Effective conservation requires the control of pest species. The State of Nature report 2016 highlighted a number of species that are under threat in NI. As well as preserving the habitat of those species, we need to reduce predation by pest birds”.
To view the general licences, visit: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/wildlife-licensing