How do I apply for an individual licence to control lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls?

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: BASC highlights concern over gull licence Changes to licensing of the lethal control of herring gull and lesser black-backed gullNatural England publication

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Further advice for BASC members

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

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Bird pest control on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

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.

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Bird pest control on or within 300m of European Protected Sites

Defra General Licences GL34, GL35 and GL36 did 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. The current Defra General Licences (GL40, 41 and GL42) allow for the control on these sites from 1 January 2021. 

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Can I shoot or trap pest birds if I haven’t tried non-lethal methods?

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.

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