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What you need to know about general licences right now

New general licences came into force on 14 June

crows in field with lamb

Crows are one of the pest bird species that can be taken under general licence

Defra has issued new general licences that look workable, following weeks of uproar. Here’s what you need to know.

The three new licences do not need to be applied for because they are ‘general’.

GL34: Licence to Kill or Take for Conservation Purposes

For control of carrion crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie, rook, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, monk parakeet, ring-necked parakeet, sacred ibis and Indian house-crow to protect wild birds and flora or fauna.

GL35: Licence to Preserve Public Health and Safety

For control of carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, Canada goose and monk parakeet to preserve public health or public safety.

GL36: Licence to Kill or Take to Prevent Serious Damage

For control of carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, woodpigeon, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet to prevent serious damage.

  • All species previously licensed have been relicensed with the exception of lesser black backed gull which has been removed because of conservation concerns.
  • The new licences do not allow shooting within 300m of protected European sites including special areas of conservation, special protection areas and Ramsar sites.
  • In addition they do not permit shooting on sites of special scientific interest, which requires authorisation from Natural England.

Collared doves

Collared doves are no longer on the general licences and are fully protected. Defra say this is because insufficient evidence exists of problems caused by collared doves. 

The National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) advises: “In most other ways, the new Defra licences allow you to do everything you were allowed to do before April 2019 but they are detailed documents and you must read and follow their terms and conditions to remain within the law, so click on the links shown. Although in law you do not have to carry a copy of the licence with you when shooting or trapping, the NGO advises printing off and keeping any general licence on which you intend to rely.”

A full list of all current general licences is available on the website here.

After reading the above, if you discover that your needs are not met by any of these you will need to contact Natural England to have an individual licence issued.