Protecting the birds that destroy the protected?
The temporary revocation of General Licences (GL 04/05/06) by Natural England takes effect from today, Thursday 25 April, causing short term chaos and confusion. The withdrawal could not have come at a more damaging time of year. Many wild birds, including a large number of red-listed endangered species are currently nesting eggs, which together with young lambs are all now vulnerable to predation by corvids that were previously controlled under General Licences.
The revocation is a result of a legal challenge to the way that the Licences are issued. Their withdrawal makes the use or setting of all catch and kill equipment illegal. Individual Licences must now be applied for in the short term and although these are not yet available, they are due to be published on the Government Website: Licences for Wildlife Management later today. The detail of these short term substitutes is not clear but Natural England aim to prioritise the most necessary Licence replacements. It is hoped that these will enable control of most of the sixteen wild birds, which include pigeons, crows, magpies, rooks and jackdaws, previously covered by the General Licence.
These interim measures are to cover short term lawful control, with new licences expected to be introduced, alongside simplified application processes. These are expected to be rolled out in due course with further information expected to be published by Natural England early next week. Any delay in agreeing alternative methods of control, both in the short and longer term, will lead to significant and critical damage to a number of already threatened species as well as crops and livestock.
The rural community anticipate the revocation will cause disruption and damage and believe it will have considerable consequences. Whilst negotiations continue over new Licences to control the sixteen birds, time continues to pass by and with no control in place the impact will be far reaching across the countryside and for the wildlife and people that live and work in it.
If you would like to discuss the revocation of General Licences and what it means to you, please contact the GSC Grays Estates and Sporting team.