Changes to Natural England general licenses
Posted on 01 May 2019
News came last week that Natural England had announced that its three general licences for the control of 16 bird species, including corvids and pigeons, were revoked on 25th April 2019 (last Thursday). Previously, the three licences subject to the legal challenge cover 16 bird species, including several members of the crow family (crows, magpies, rooks, jackdaws and jays), feral and wood pigeon and number of invasive non-native species (such as Canada goose).

It is expected that, over time, many situations which were covered by the three general licences will be covered by one of the new licences. Natural England is undertaking new licensing assessments to support lethal control of certain birds in defined situations, such as:

1. To prevent serious damage to livestock from carrioncrow2. To preserve public health and safety from the im-

pacts of feral pigeons.

Natural England intend to start issuing these licences on gov.uk from the week commencing 29 April 2019 (this week) when more details are available. If people need to act in the meantime, they will need to apply for an individual licence, using a simplified process which was available on gov.uk from 25 April 2019.

In limited circumstances, people may be allowed to undertake urgent action in accordance with the existing requirements of section 4 of the Wildlife and Country-side Act 1981, but these must be in extreme circumstances.Anyone exercising lethal control of birds after Thursday 25 April 2019 without taking the above steps will not be covered by a general licence and could be committing an offence and therefore could be prosecuted.
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