crow shooting

In a shock move on Tuesday 23 April, Natural England announced that it was revoking general licences from midnight on the 25th of April.


Shooting UK will keep you updated with the latest developments with articles, which are all listed below. All include links to forms and information.

crow shooting

General licence extension by DEFRA

General licence holders needing to control wild birds will be relieved to learn that DEFRA has reissued the current permits from 1 August to 31 December 2020. The department has confirmed that no action is required by the licence users beyond the ‘ongoing requirement to act in accordance with the licence…

Canada geese

Defra reissues temporary general licences ahead of deadline

Defra has reissued six general licences on a temporary basis for the control of wild birds. The temporary general licences in question  (GL26, GL28, GL31, GL34, GL35 and GL36) will be reissued from 1 March to 31 July 2020.  Licence users do not need to take further action, other than…

Crows with sheep

Is trouble with general licences brewing again?

New general licences expire soon Are general licences going to become unworkable again? Last year the three main general licences for the shooting and trapping of pest birds (GL34, GL35 and GL36) were temporarily revoked after a legal challenge. After delay and discussion they were reissued by Defra with validity…

Wood Pigeon

Why the wood pigeon is so successful

About wood pigeon The main wood pigeon breeding season is much later than most people realise. You may see lots of wing-clapping display flights and hear lots of their distinctive “don’t scold so, Susie” cooing in March and April, but the vast majority of pigeon will struggle to raise a…

bird species on general licences in England

Our guide to the bird species on general licences in England

The changes to general licences in the last year resulted in a lot of confusion. To make matters simpler, we thought we would provide a visual reference to bird species on general licences in England that can be culled. Remember that the law is different in Wales. Mike Swan, Head of…


How civil servants affect our protected bird numbers

Despite what some may think it gives me little pleasure to once more take our civil servants to task for their decisions. However, as long as they continue to make glaring errors that is what will happen. You may recall in a previous piece I noted that anyone who manages…

hen harrier female

General licences restricted on Leadhills Estate following wildlife crime

In the past week Scottish Natural Heritage has announced that it is restricting the use of general licences on the Leadhills Estate in South Lanarkshire after evidence of wildlife crime against birds was provided by Police Scotland. Nick Halfhide, SNH’s Director of Sustainable Growth, explained: “There is clear evidence that…

land management of grouse moor

Land management is hampered by officials with little knowledge

When a senior member 
of Natural England asks 
a grouse keeper how many birds he releases and it’s not 1 April, you have a right 
to worry. It is not the only example 
of government employees showing 
a serious lack of working knowledge. The licensing debacle has left the management…

Canada geese in flight

Changes to general licences in Wales from 7 October

What you need to know about the changes to general licences in Wales which come into effect from 7 October 2019, Changes to GL001, GL002 and GL004 GL001 – Issued for preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit or to prevent the spread of disease…


Have your say in new Government survey on general licences

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…

new general licence rules

How to follow the new general licence rules and do things correctly

It’s great news that the general licence debacle is over — for the time being at least. The new general licence rules pretty much take us back to square one. It’s important, however, to read them carefully, understand them and comply with their terms and conditions. It is legal to…

Wild Justice logo

Wild Justice abandons latest campaign on general licences … for now

On 18th July the group Wild Justice announced a new threat against the gameshooting community, saying that gamebird releases ought to be regulated.  The Leigh Day website (lawyers for Wild Justice) advised that Defra had until 31st July 2019 to response to the  Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) letter sent on behalf of…

Dr Mark Avery of Wild Justice

New attack on shooting community launched by Wild Justice

In the five weeks since Defra announced three new general licences (GL34, GL35 and GL36), the campaign group Wild Justice, which consists of scientists Dr Mark Avery and Dr Ruth Tingay, plus Chris Packham, the TV presenter and naturalist, has been preparing its latest campaign to hold the shooting community…


General licence update

A new set of general licences has been issued by DEFRA, following the outcry over their revocation by Natural England after pressure from campaign group Wild Justice. The new licences have been welcomed by shooting and countryside organisations but problems remain over shooting on protected sites. The move marks a…

crows in field with lamb

What you need to know about general licences right now

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,…

Dr Mark Avery

Exclusive – Sporting Gun asks Dr Mark Avery the questions we want answered

Seven weeks after Natural England revoked the general licences GL04, GL05 and GL06 on April 25, following a legal challenge from Wild Justice, the wildlife campaign group has submitted a further challenge. This latest legal challenge has arrived while the shooting and farming world is still waiting for Defra and…

Dr Mark Avery of Wild Justice

Sporting Gun talks to Dr Mark Avery of Wild Justice about general licences

Sporting Gun: What provoked you to initiate your legal challenge to Natural England (NE) about the general licences when you did? Wild Justice: NE issued the licences on 1 January each year and to seek a judicial review one has to go through various steps inside three months – so…