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Issuing bird licences

If you’ve read comments about us issuing licences to kill birds in Wales, here is how and why we do so

We champion the environment of Wales, and work hard to provide opportunities for precious birds to thrive.

But on some occasions, and only when all other avenues of scaring or deterring have failed, we issue licenses to kill birds for specific purposes.

In doing so, we carefully balance the needs of conservation with other public interests such as protecting human health, public safety, minimising damage to crops and livestock and protecting fisheries.

For example, we might issue a licence where birds have entered a food processing plant, creating a public health issue. Airports also apply for licences to shoot birds to reduce the risk of air strikes.

It’s vital to emphasise that, in every case, we only issue a licence as a last resort when all other methods have failed to resolve the problem.

We are confident that all activities carried out under these licences do not affect the conservation status of any of our native species.

For almost 40 years licences have been issued for bird control under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Some licences, particularly around air safety, are speculative and so whilst licenses may be issued, they do not necessarily mean that the birds are killed. Attached is a table that shows a list of the licences issued, as well as our records about actual birds killed.

Additionally, there has been some misrepresentations about NRW making money from issuing licences. We do not charge for these licence applications.

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