Defra has today (12 September 2019) launched a 12 week online public survey to gather evidence on the control that stakeholders consider is required under general licence, as part of a planned review of general licences to manage wild birds in England.
The aim of the review, which is being led by Defra in close partnership with Natural England, is to deliver a robust system of licensing to manage the issues that arise between the protection of wild birds, and the legitimate activities people need to carry out for specific purposes such as protecting livestock or crops, and for conservation purposes.
The review was announced earlier this year when Defra issued three new short-term licences to control wild birds to conserve wild birds and flora or fauna (GL34); preserve public health or public safety (GL35); and prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters (GL36). The survey will focus on the purposes covered by these three general licences. All information submitted will be considered alongside the evidence that Defra received during its shorter call for evidence held in the Spring, which highlighted a number of areas where evidence is currently lacking. This survey therefore builds on that call for evidence, asking for more specific information to feed into the development of a future licensing system.
In parallel, Defra and Natural England will be conducting a series of workshops with interested stakeholders to cover other issues such as activity on or near protected sites. They will also be compiling and considering other available evidence to inform the review.
It is essential that the new general licenses are fit for purpose, simple, and easy to understand. It is therefore incumbent on all those that rely on the general licences for the control of birds in England to complete the survey. Responses must be with Defra by 5 December 2019.