All countrymen and women should ensure that they make their thoughts known

Environment secretary Theresa Villers has launched a 12 week public survey as part of a planned review of general licences to manage wild birds in England.

What is the purpose of the general licence review?

Defra says the aim of the review: ” … is to ensure the licensing system is robust, striking the right balance between the protection of wild birds and the activities people such as landowners and farmers need to carry out for specific purposes, such as protecting livestock or crops or for conservation purposes.”

The government body is working in close partnership with Natural England.

Earlier this year  Defra issued three new short-term licences to control 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 shooting community must have representation

The 12 week public survey will focus on the needs covered by these three general licences. Shooters should ensure that they complete the survey so that the community is fully represented as all information given will be considered. This will be in parallel with the evidence received during Defra’s shorter call for evidence held in Spring 2019, which highlighted areas lacking in evidence. The government are requesting specific information to inform a future licensing system.

BASC’s head of policy and campaigns Dr Conor O’Gorman urged people to respond to the online survey.

He said: “We would urge everyone who shoots to take part in Defra’s survey. Your evidence counts.

“Engaging in the process is hugely important and the more people who make their views known, the louder the voice of the shooting community.”

You can complete the survey here. All answers must be received by 5 December 2019.