New general licences for the control of wild birds

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has today (21 June) published four new general licences for the control of wild birds, ahead of them coming into force on 1 July 2022.

This follows the completion of NRW’s review of its approach to licencing, carried out to ensure processes currently in place are robust and proportionate.

While all wild birds are protected by law, there are specific circumstances where NRW licences the lethal control of wild birds and the destruction of eggs and nests for certain purposes, such as to protect public health or safety, to prevent serious damage to crops, livestock or fisheries, or to conserve other species of wildlife.

The new licences published today – GL001, GL002, GL004 and GL005 – can be used from 1 July 2022 for common activities that carry a low risk to the conservation or welfare of a protected species.

They confirm the preview copies released in April, with some minor technical changes.

Ceri Davies, NRW Executive Director for Evidence, Permitting and Policy said:

“We are committed to delivering a licensing system which is effective, practical and proportionate for users, while providing the necessary protection for birds.
“We have worked with key stakeholders and invited evidence from others to inform our work. These licences are the result of more than 18 months of work, including analysis of over 600 responses to our consultation, review of the scientific evidence and a Judicial Review.
“A key recommendation from our review is that we will establish a formal six-year review process for our general licences to ensure that they remain fit for the future.”

The current versions of these four general licences can continue to be used until 30 June 2022.

Anyone who intends to use lethal methods to control birds in situations that are not covered by a general licence can still apply for a specific licence.

Find out more information here: Natural Resources Wales / General licences for birds 2022