As part of its annual consultation on the subject, SNH says that its decisions, which include changes to the status of Canada geese and ruddy duck, represent a ?significant improvement? on previous versions.

Among the main decisions and changes for 2013 are:

? Non-native Canada geese will be added to General Licences 1, 2 and 3, which will allow lethal control methods to be used all year round.

? Non-native ruddy duck will be added to General Licence 1, allowing year-round lethal control methods to support efforts to eradicate this species from the UK.

? A new General Licence will be created permitting the catching-up of red grouse using nets or lamps in order to enable the administration of medication.

? Traps permitted under General Licences 1?4 will be clarified, including authorisation to use ?clam?-type traps. ?By hand? will be included as a method of despatch.

In a letter to those who responded to the consultation, SNH?s head of wildlife operations, Robbie Kernahan, said: ?A great deal of valuable feedback was received from consultees and we are confident that this will help us to achieve our aim of developing a much more clear, fit-for-purpose and consistent suite of licences.?