Court rules that NRW General Licences are lawful

Natural Resources Wales logo

The High Court has today (18 Jan) ruled that Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) General Licences to control wild birds are lawful following a legal challenge by campaigning body Wild Justice

All wild birds are protected by law. However, in certain circumstances, where NRW is satisfied that there is no satisfactory non-lethal solution, lethal control methods can be authorised under licence.

Today’s decision means that the three General Licences which were subject to the legal challenge can continue to be used to control certain wild bird species. They are available for the purpose of preventing serious damage or disease to crops or livestock, protecting public health and conserving certain species of wild birds.

Ceri Davies, NRW’s Executive Director for Evidence, Planning and Policy said:

We are pleased that the High Court has judged these General Licences to be lawful and the judgment confirms the evidence based and proportionate approach taken by NRW.
We will continue to review, update and assess all our approaches to licensing and want to do this in the most collaborative way possible with all stakeholders.

The 2021 General Licences are on NRW’s website and can be downloaded for use. Anyone who intends to use lethal methods to control birds not covered by a general licence will still need to apply for a specific licence.