Wildlife Licensing

Thank you for contacting me about wildlife licensing.

I understand the concerns that you have raised regarding general licensing for the control of wild birds.  In June last year, Defra simultaneously issued new interim general licences and launched a review to inform longer-term licensing arrangements.  The evidence from the review is still being analysed.

Six general licences for the control of wild birds have now been reissued on a temporary basis ahead of new licences coming into force on 1 January 2021.  No action is required by licence users, beyond the ongoing requirement to act in accordance with the licence conditions.  Defra intends to publish new licences in November to allow user groups to become acquainted with the changes before they officially come into force.

As a result of the above, wild bird control on and near European sites and lethal control of gulls have been via individual licence this year.  I appreciate the frustrations regarding individual licensing, and Ministers are working closely with Natural England to ensure that these issues are sorted as quickly as possible. 

The Government is committed to achieving a general licensing regime for wild birds which is both robust and workable for users, ensuring that longer-term licensing arrangements are informed by the best available evidence. I can assure you that I will continue to take a close interest in this subject as the Government's proposals develop. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.