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30th April 2019

Natural England withdraws licences permitting landowners and farmers to kill wild birds

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Natural England announced on 23 April 2019 that they were withdrawing three of the general licences permitting farmers and landowners to control wild birds from midnight on 25 April. The licences which have been withdrawn are:-

  • General Licence GL04: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to prevent serious damage or disease
  • General Licence GL05: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to preserve public health or public safety
  • General Licence GL06: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to conserve wild birds or flora and fauna.
New licences are due to be issued from 29 April 2019 and at the time of writing, only a general licence permitting landowners and farmers to control carrion crows for the purpose of preventing damage to livestock and reared game birds has been released (see it here: GL26).

In the meantime, farmers and landowners should apply for an individual licence using Natural England’s online application process (found here) in order to continue exercising these rights. You can, in certain circumstances, take urgent action whilst this licence application is pending.

Anyone who kills or exercises lethal control over birds after 25 April will not be covered by a general licence and may be found to be acting illegally. There is no grace period.

Natural England’s position statement on this can be found here. If you require any further advice on this, please contact Stephanie Dennis on 01604 463372.