Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers, has launched a 12-week public survey on what stakeholders consider is required to control wild birds under general licences.
This is part of a planned review following a legal challenge by Wild Justice earlier this year. Natural England removed three general licences and issued short-term replacements to allow the control of wild birds to conserve wild birds and flora or fauna (WML GL34); preserve public health or public safety (WML GL35); and prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters (WML GL36).
The Environment Secretary said:
I completely understand the scale of interest in this important issue and the real concern of users who need to have confidence in the licensing system.
Working closely with Natural England, this survey is an important step in our wider review of general licences.
I want to encourage users and other interested parties to take part in the process. This will help us ensure our licences strike the right balance between the protection of wild birds and the important actions users need to take to protect livestock or crops, and for conservation purposes.
In addition to the survey, Defra and Natural England will be conducting a series of workshops with interested groups, covering particular topics such as activity on protected sites.
The consultation closes on 5 December 2019.