Natural England (NE) has defended its administration of General Licences after Shooting Times’s online poll for November revealed that 90 per cent of the 190 respondents felt that shooting under General Licences could be made less bureaucratic.

NE’s Matt Heydon said: “I’m surprised by the poll result. General Licence users are not required either to apply to use a licence or to provide any feedback on how many birds they kill. When you consider that the licences allow people to kill protected species, the requirement to read and adhere to a set of conditions does not seem overly bureaucratic. NE is committed to continuous review and improvement to ensure that this light-touch approach to regulation minimises burdens as far as possible, yet remains justified and legally robust.”