Licence Number: WCA / GEN / 001 / 2022a
Valid from: 1 July 2022
Expiry date: 31 December 2022

Licence to kill or take wild birds or to take or destroy their nests or eggs for the purposes of preventing serious damage or spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit

Part A. Legal basis and purpose of this licence

1. This licence, granted under Section 16(1)(j) and (k) and (5) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) (the Act), by the Natural Resources Body for Wales otherwise known as Natural Resources Wales (NRW), being satisfied as regards the purposes set out in paragraph 2 that there is no other satisfactory solution, permits authorised persons (see Definitions) to carry out the actions set out in paragraph 3.

2. The purposes for which this licence is granted are to prevent serious damage or spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit.

Part B. What this licence authorises

3. For the purposes set out in paragraph 2 only, this licence permits any authorised person to kill or take wild birds of the species listed in Table 1 below, or to take, damage or destroy their nests or to take or destroy their eggs, in order to prevent serious damage of the types shown with a ‘Yes’ in Table 1 for each of those species, by the use of:

(i) any method which is not prohibited by Section 5 of the Act;

(ii) a semi-automatic weapon (see Definitions);

(iii) a cage trap, the dimensions of which do not satisfy the requirements of Section 8(1) of the Act;

(iv) inside a building, a device for illuminating a target, a sighting device for night shooting, any form of artificial lighting or any mirror or other dazzling device;

(v) inside a building and to take birds which are not in flight or which are in the immediate act of taking flight, a hand held or hand propelled net.

Table 1

 

Prevent serious damage to livestock through direct attack

Prevent serious damage to livestock foodstuffs

Prevent serious damage to crops, vegetables or fruit

Prevent spread of disease to livestock or livestock foodstuffs

Canada goose

Branta canadensis

No

No

Yes

No

Feral pigeon

Columbia livia

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Woodpigeon

Columba palumbus

No

No

Yes

Yes

Magpie

Pica pica

Yes

No

No

Yes

Jackdaw

Coloeus monedula

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Carrion crow

Corvus corone

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

4. The actions listed in paragraph 3 are authorised only between the period 1st July 2022 and 31st December 2022 and subject to compliance with all the conditions listed in Part C.

5. This licence applies in Wales, landward of the mean low water mark.

Iwan G. Hughes, Team Leader Species Permitting

Signed for and on behalf of Natural Resources Wales.

Part C. Conditions

C.1 General conditions

6. Any person intending to use this licence must ensure they have read and understood its terms and conditions prior to carrying out licensed action.

7. Any birds killed in accordance with this licence must be killed in a quick and humane manner, subject to the definition of “kill” in this licence (see Definitions).

8. All reasonable endeavours must be made to quickly and humanely dispatch any bird of a target species (see Definitions) which is injured by the taking of any licensed action.

9. If any animal of a European protected species of animal (see Definitions) or any wild bird of prey (including an owl) is captured, killed or injured in the course of action carried out under this licence, NRW must be advised of that fact as soon as practicable. NRW can be contacted on specieslicence@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk.

10. This licence does not authorise the taking of any action within, or within the defined buffer zones around, any of the protected sites listed in Annex 1 of this licence.

11. No person convicted of an offence to which this condition applies may use this licence unless, in respect of that offence, either (1) they were dismissed with an admonition, or (2) they are a rehabilitated person for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and their conviction is treated as spent. A person may use this licence where, in respect of such an offence, a court has made an order discharging them absolutely. This condition applies to offences under the Act, the Deer Act 1991, the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, the Hunting Act 2004, the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (all as amended).

C.2 Conditions applying to any use of cage traps under this licence

12. Any cage trap used for the purpose of this licence must be of one of the following types:

(i) a walk in multi-catch cage trap;

(ii) a Larsen trap which does not have any capture compartment mounted directly above the decoy compartment;

(iii) a Larsen mate trap, also known as a clam trap;

(iv) a Larsen pod trap;

(v) a pigeon trap.

13. Any Larsen mate or Larsen pod trap while in use must be secured in place to mitigate the risk of it being dragged away by non-target species.

14. Where a cage trap containing a live decoy bird is used for the purpose of this licence, the decoy must be a bird of one of the following species: carrion crow (Corvus corone), magpie (Pica pica), jackdaw (Coloeus monedula).

15. Any live decoy bird used for the purpose of this licence must not be tethered, blinded, maimed or injured in any way, including by wing clipping.

16. Any live decoy bird used for the purpose of this licence must be provided at all times while held captive in a trap with adequate food and water, appropriate shelter and a suitable perch.

17. If any meat or meat based product is used as food for a decoy bird, it must be in chopped or diced form.

18. If meat or any meat based product is used as bait, it must be in chopped or diced form.

19. When a cage trap is in use, the time interval between physical inspections (see Definitions) must not exceed 25 hours.

20. A cage trap must only be set if the person responsible for it is confident that it will be physically inspected with the required frequency. A cage trap must not be set if physical inspection at least every 25 hours is unlikely to be possible, for example due to predicted severe weather or other reasons which may reasonably be anticipated.

21. If due to unforeseen circumstances more than 25 hours elapses before a cage trap is physically inspected, all reasonable efforts must be made to have the trap physically inspected as soon as possible.

22. Any live trapped birds of the target species must as soon as practicable be humanely dispatched or released unharmed, unless they are to be kept for use as decoys.

23. Any bird held captive prior to being killed must be killed out of sight of other captive birds. This condition does not apply to birds caught in multi-catch traps.

24. When a cage trap is not in use, it must be rendered incapable of holding or catching birds or animals.

Part D. Definitions

25. “The Act” means the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended.

26. “Authorised person” means:

(i) the owner or occupier, or any person authorised by the owner or occupier, of the land on which the action authorised is taken;

(ii) any person authorised in writing by the local authority for the area within which the action authorised is taken;

(iii) any person authorised in writing by NRW.

The authorisation of any person for the purposes of this definition shall not confer any right of entry upon any land.

27. “European protected species of animal” means a species listed in Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, as amended.

28. “Kill” includes accidentally wounding whilst attempting to kill in accordance with the terms and conditions of this licence.

29. “Livestock” for the purposes of this licence is as defined in section 27(1) of the Act. It includes any animal which is kept:

(i) for provision of food, wool, skins or fur;

(ii) for the purpose of its use in the carrying on of any agricultural activity; or

(iii) for the provision or improvement of shooting or fishing.

The term ‘kept’ is not defined in the Act. For the purposes of this licence an animal or bird falling into one or more of categories (i), (ii) or (iii) above may continue to be regarded as ‘kept’ even when it is not physically constrained. For example where a captive reared bird such as free-range poultry or a gamebird, is unconstrained but remains in close proximity to an enclosure, pen or housing to which it returns for shelter or to roost at night, and is significantly dependent on food provided by people, then it may reasonably be regarded as livestock. 

30. "Physical inspection" means an inspection that is sufficient to check:

(i) whether any animal or bird has been trapped;

(ii) the species and physical condition of any trapped animal or bird;

(iii) the condition of any decoy bird held in the trap;

(iv) whether any decoy bird held within the trap has access to a suitable perch and to food and water of sufficient quantity and condition; and

(v) whether the trap is operating effectively.

A physical inspection requires the person carrying it out to have a clear view of all compartments of the trap and their contents, which will normally require being close enough to touch the trap.

31. “Semi-automatic weapon” means any weapon which is not prohibited by Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended) and which has a magazine capable of holding more than two rounds of ammunition, where the depression of the trigger ejects a single shot, each subsequent shot requiring a further depression of the trigger.

32. “Target species” means a species which is mentioned in paragraph 3 of this licence.

33. “Wild bird” is as defined in section 27(1) of the Act.

Part E. Advice to licence users

E.1 General advice

34. Failure to act within the terms of this licence as set out in Part B or failure to comply with any of the conditions listed in Part C may mean that the licence cannot be relied upon and an offence may be committed. The maximum penalty in the Magistrates’ Court for an offence under the Act is an unlimited fine or a six month custodial sentence or both.

35. This licence may be modified or revoked at any time by NRW.

36. Except as specifically permitted under paragraph 3, this licence does not authorise the use of any method of killing or taking wild birds which is prohibited by Section 5 or Section 8 of the Act.

37. Before carrying out any action authorised by this licence in respect of carrion crow, feral pigeon, jackdaw, magpie or woodpigeon (species native to the United Kingdom), an authorised person should make reasonable endeavours to achieve the purpose in question using alternative, lawful methods not covered by this licence and should continue to do so.

38. Anyone intending to control wild birds in any of the sites listed in Annex 1 of this licence or within their buffer zones, should apply to NRW for a specific licence.

39. Users of this licence are responsible for complying with all relevant legislation, including in relation to animal welfare, use of firearms and use of lead shot.

40. Birds should only be shot with a firearm if they are within the effective range of that firearm.

41. When undertaking activities under this licence, authorised persons are advised to carry a copy of the licence.

42. Users of this licence are advised to make a written record of actions taken under this licence, including for example:

  • any action taken to address the problem using non-lethal alternatives to licensed action;
  • the reasons why it was decided that non-lethal alternatives were not sufficient to address the problem;
  • the date(s) and location(s) of licensed action taken;
  • the number of birds/eggs/nests killed/taken/damaged/destroyed and the method(s) used.

Users are further advised to keep these records for at least three years from the date action was undertaken, and to be able to produce them on request.

E.2 Advice on the use of cage traps

43. Any trap used under this licence should be constructed using materials and components which minimise the risk of animals or birds held within the trap being injured or injuring themselves.

44. Trap design and construction should minimise the risk of catching or harming non-target species without unreasonably compromising the effectiveness of the trap for the humane capture of target species.

45. Users of traps should take appropriate steps to achieve and maintain the necessary level of competence to operate cage traps safely and humanely, which may include training.

46. Traps should be set in locations which minimise the risks of: capture or injury of non-target species; damage to the trap by wild or domesticated birds or animals; interference by unauthorised persons; and harm to trapped birds or animals or decoys while in the trap.

47. Traps should as far as possible not be used during periods of extreme hot or cold weather, or when such conditions are anticipated. If extreme weather is possible, either traps should be positioned where there is natural cover providing protection from exposure to strong winds, rain, snow or direct sun (as applicable), or cover should be provided using artificial means. Traps should not be set in areas which are at risk of flooding.

48. If bait used is used in a trap it should wherever possible be non-meat based. Meat or meat based products should not be used as bait unless absolutely necessary.

49. While in use, traps should wherever possible be physically inspected more frequently than once every 25 hours, and in daylight.

50. All reasonable steps should be taken to ensure the welfare of decoy birds and of any live birds or animals caught in the trap. It is an offence under animal welfare legislation to cause unnecessary suffering to a captive animal or bird.

51. Users of multi-catch traps should make all reasonable efforts to kill birds out of sight of other captive birds unless doing so would result in additional delay and handling resulting in more distress to captive birds.

52. At each inspection of a trap, as soon as practicable:

(i) Any dead animals or birds in the trap should be removed.

(ii) The necessary steps must be taken to ensure that any decoy bird which is to remain in the trap has access to the facilities required for a decoy bird.

(iii) Any live trapped birds of the target species must be humanely dispatched or released unharmed, unless they are to be kept for use as decoys.

(iv) Any live trapped birds or animals of a species other than the target species must as soon as practicable be released, taken or humanely dispatched. Which of these actions should be taken depends on whether the animal or bird is domesticated or wild, whether it is injured and, if it is a wild animal or bird, which species it belongs to, as follows:

(a) a domesticated animal or bird which has no sign of injury should either be released at the point of capture, or returned to its owner;

(b) a domesticated animal or bird which is injured should be taken for veterinary treatment and all reasonable efforts made to notify its owner;

(c) a wild bird or animal should, as soon as practicable, either be:

      • released at the point of capture, unless it is of a species that may not be released without a licence (see below), or
      • humanely dispatched, unless it is of a species that may not be killed without a licence (see below).

(v) If any wild animal or bird confined within a trap is so seriously injured or otherwise in such a condition that it would be unlikely to survive or for which release would be inhumane, it should be humanely dispatched.

53. An animal or bird of any of the following species may not be released without a licence:

(i) a species which is not normally resident in, or a regular visitor to, Great Britain;

(ii) a species which is listed in Schedule 9 of the Act;

(iii) a species which is listed as an invasive alien species of Union concern

If any such animal or bird is caught in a trap, it should be humanely dispatched or kept in captivity, either indefinitely or until such time as a licence is obtained from NRW to release it into the wild.

54. An animal or bird of any the following species may not be killed without a licence, unless it is so seriously disabled that there is no reasonable chance of it recovering, or it is of a species which is subject to an open season and it was captured during that open season:

(i) wild birds (any species);

(ii) badger (Meles meles);

(iii) deer (any species);

(iv) a species listed on Schedule 5 of the Act;

(v) a species listed on Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, as amended.

Annex 1. Protected sites where this licence does not apply

This licence does not authorise any action to be taken within or within 300 metres of the boundary of any of the protected sites listed below (or within 500 metres in the case of the Dyfi Estuary SSSI/SPA).

The locations of these areas can be viewed on data map Wales.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Aberarth - Carreg Wylan
Aberdunant
Afon Cleddau Dwyreiniol/Eastern Cleddau River
Afon Cleddau Gorllewinol/Western Cleddau River
Afon Dyfrdwy (River Dee)
Afon Eden - Cors Goch Trawsfynydd
Afon Gwyrfai a Llyn Cwellyn
Afon Irfon
Afon Llynfi
Afon Teifi
Afon Tywi
Afon Wysg (Isafonydd) / River Usk (Tributaries)
Allt y Gaer
Allt y Main Mine
Arfordir Abereiddi
Arfordir Gogleddol Penmon
Bach Howey Gorge
Beech Cottage, Waterwynch
Benarth Wood
Berwyn
Borth - Clarach
Bryn y Gwin Isaf
Bryngwyn Hall Stables and Coach House
Buckland Coach House & Ice House
Cadair Idris
Caeau Coed Mawr (Coedmawr Fields)
Carew Castle
Carreg y Llam
Castell y Waun a'i Barcdir/Chirk Castle and Parkland
Castlemartin Range
Cemlyn Bay
Ceunant a Thyrrau Trefgarn/Treffgarne Gorge and Tors
Chwarel Cambrian/Cambrian Quarry, Gwernymynydd
Cilcenni Dingle
Ciliau
Coed Aberdulas
Coed Aberedw
Coed y Crychydd
Coed y Gopa
Coedydd a Cheunant Rheidol (Rheidol Woods & Gorge)
Coedydd Beddgelert a Cheunant Aberglaslyn
Coedydd De Dyffryn Maentwrog
Coedydd Dyffryn Alwen
Coedydd Dyffryn Ffestiniog (Gogleddol)
Coedydd Nanmor
Colwyn Brook Marshes (North & South)
Cors Caron
Corsydd Llangloffan
Craig yr Aderyn (Bird's rock)
Creigiau Pen y graig
Creigiau Rhiwledyn/Little Ormes Head
Cwm Doethie - Mynydd Mallaen
Dale and South Marloes Coast
De Porth Sain Ffraidd / St Bride's Bay South
Dee Estuary / Aber Afon Dyfrdwy
Dolorgan Barn
Duhonw
Dyfi
Elenydd
Erwood Dingle
Eryri
Felin Llwyngwair
Ffynnon Beuno and Cae Gwyn Caves
Flat Holm
Foxwood
Ganllwyd
Garth-eryr
Glannau Aberdaron
Glannau Rhoscolyn
Glannau Ynys Gybi/ Holy Island Coast
Glascoed, Meifod
Glaslyn
Glyn Cywarch
Glynllifon
Gower Coast: Rhossili to Porteynon
Graig Fawr
Grassholm / Ynys Gwales
Gronant Dunes and Talacre Warren
Gwernydd Penbre
Gweunydd Esgairdraenllwyn (Esgairdraenllwyn Pastures)
Gweunydd Nant y Dernol
Gwlyptiroedd Casnewydd/Newport Wetlands
Hendre, Llangedwyn
Leighton Bat Roosts
Llanddulas Limestone and Gwrych Castle Wood
Llangovan Church
Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt
Milford Haven Waterway
Morfa Harlech
Mwyngloddfa Mynydd-Bach
Mwyngloddiau a Chreigiau Gwydyr
Mwyngloddiau Llanfrothen
Mwyngloddiau Wnion a Eglwys Sant Marc
Mynydd Llangatwg (Mynydd Llangattock)
Mynydd Penarfynnydd
Newborough Warren - Ynys Llanddwyn
Newton Court Stable Block
Orielton Stable Block and Cellars
Park House Outbuildings, Stackpole
Pen y Gogarth / Great Ormes Head
Pengelli Forest and Pant-teg Wood
Penmaenuchaf Hall
Penrice Stables and Underhill Cottage
Penygarnedd Mine
Plas Maenan
Porth Ceiriad, Porth Neigwl ac Ynysoedd Sant Tudwal
Puffin Island
Pwll-y-wrach
Ramsey / Ynys Dewi
Rhagnentydd Gwy Uchaf / Upper Wye Tributaries
Rhos Llawr Cwrt
River Ithon
River Lugg
River Teme
River Usk (Lower Usk)/Afon Wysg (Wysg Isaf)
River Usk (Upper Usk) / Afon Wysg (Wysg Uchaf)
River Wye (Lower Wye) / Afon Gwy (Gwy Isaf)
River Wye (Tributaries)/Afon Gwy (Isafonydd)
River Wye (Upper Wye) / Afon Gwy (Gwy Uchaf)
Rose Cottage, Llethrid
Ruperra Castle and Woodlands
Shotton Lagoons and Reedbeds
Siambre Ddu
Skokholm
Skomer Island and Middleholm
Slebech Stable Yard Loft, Cellars & Tunnels
St. David's Peninsula Coast
St. Margaret's Island
Stackpole
Stackpole Courtyard Flats and Walled Garden
The Offshore Islets of Pembrokeshire / Ynysoedd Glannau Penfro
The Skerries
Twyni Lacharn - Pentywyn / Laugharne - Pendine Burrows
Ty Bach Ystlumod
West Llangynog Slate Mine
Wye Valley
Ynys Enlli
Ynys Feurig
Ynysoedd y Gwylanod, Gwylan Islands
Ysbyty Bron y Garth
Yr Eifl

Special Protection Areas

Anglesey Terns / Morwenoliaid Ynys Môn
Berwyn
Burry Inlet
Castlemartin Coast
Craig yr Aderyn (Bird's Rock)
Dyfi Estuary / Aber Dyfi
Elenydd-Mallaen
Glannau Aberdaron ac Ynys Enlli / Aberdaron Coast and Bardsey Island
Glannau Ynys Gybi / Holy Island Coast
Grassholm
Liverpool Bay / Bae Lerpwl
Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt
Mynydd Cilan, Trwyn y Wylfa ac Ynysoedd Sant Tudwal
Ramsey and St David's Peninsula Coast
Severn Estuary
Skomer, Skokholm and the seas off Pembrokeshire / Sgomer, Sgogwm a Moroedd Penfro
The Dee Estuary
Traeth Lafan / Lavan Sands, Conway Bay
Ynys Seiriol / Puffin Island

Special Areas of Conservation

Afon Eden-Cors Goch Trawsfynydd
Afon Gwyrfai a Llyn Gwellyn
Afon Teifi / River Teifi
Afon Tywi / River Tywi
Afonydd Cleddau / Cleddau Rivers
Cardigan Bay / Bae Ceredigion
Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries / Bae Caerfyrddin ac Aberoedd
Coedydd Derw a Safleoedd Ystlumod Meirion / Meirionnydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites
Cors Caron
Dee Estuary / Aber Dyfrydwy
Glynllifon
Limestone Coast of South West Wales / Afordir Calchfaen De Orllewin Cymr
Mwyngloddiau Fforest Gwydir / Gwydyr Forest Mines
North Pembrokeshire Woodlands / Coedydd Gogledd Sir Benfro
Pembrokeshire Bat Sites and Bosherston Lakes/ Safleoedd Ystlum Sir Benfro a Llynnoedd Bosherston
Pembrokeshire Marine / Sir Benfro Forol
Pen Llŷn ar Sarnau / Lleyn Peninsula and the Sarnau
River Dee and Bala Lake / Afon Dyfrydwy a Llyn Tegid
River Usk / Afon Wysg
River Wye / Afon Gwy
Tanat and Vyrnwy Bat Sites / Safleoedd Ystlumod Tanat Ac Efyrnwy
Usk Bat Sites / Safloedd Ystlumod Wysg
Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Bat Sites / Safleoedd Ystlumod Dyffryn Gwy
Wye Valley Woodlands / Coetiroedd Dyffryn Gwy

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