25/04/2019

Major changes to licensing requirements for bird control

Natural England is revoking three general licences for controlling certain wild birds as of Thursday 25 April 2019. These licences (GL 04/05/06) cover sixteen species of birds including several members of the crow family, wood pigeon and feral pigeon.

Natural England is working to put in place over the next few weeks alternative measures to allow lawful control of these bird species to continue where necessary. In the meantime, once the licences have been revoked and until new licences are issued, anyone needing to control one of these 16 bird species where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will need to apply for an individual licence.

What to do if you use a general licence

It is expected that, over time, many situations currently covered by the three general licences will be covered by new licences.

Natural England is undertaking new licensing assessments to support lethal control of certain birds in defined situations. It intends to start issuing these licences on gov.uk from the week commencing 29 April when more details will be available.

If people need to take action in the meantime they will need to apply for an individual licence, using a simplified process which will be available on gov.uk from 25 April.

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.

Further information is available on: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wildlife-licences