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General Licences for Birds 2020

All species of wild birds in Wales are protected. General licences cover certain species for particular purposes, so that individual licences are not required to make those actions lawful

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) issue general licences to allow certain actions to be carried out without the need to apply for a specific licence. Each general licence is issued for a particular purpose and some are limited to certain species only.

If you plan to act under a general licence, you must be satisfied that you are acting within the provisions of that general licence and therefore the law. It is your responsibility to read the licence conditions to ensure that your situation is covered and to comply with the conditions.

October 2019 review of general licences

On 7th October 2019 four general licences were revoked and new versions issued (GL001, GL002, GL004 and GL016). These cover 16 wild bird species and specified purposes that we consider appropriate following a review of available information.

The new general licences are available to download below and will be valid until 31 December 2020.

The four new general licences are:

  • GL001 – Licence to kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit or to prevent the spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit. Species covered: Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Canada Goose.
  • GL002 – Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of preserving public health and preventing the spread of disease to humans. Species covered: Feral Pigeon
  • GL004 – Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of conserving wild birds. Species covered: Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Jay
  • GL016 - Licence to take and release alive certain wild birds from food premises for the purpose of preserving public health and public safety. Species covered: Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great tit, Pied Wagtail

Download further information about the review, why it was necessary and what it means.

Further review

In 2020, we will conduct a comprehensive review of all the licensing arrangements for birds in Wales, which will include all general and specific licences (sometimes called bespoke licences).

For further information about NRW general licences you can contact the general enquiries line on 03000 653000

or email: specieslicence@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Other activities and bird species

If you need to control bird species not listed in general licences, for health and safety reasons (including aviation), conservation reasons or to prevent damage to livestock, crops or fisheries you should apply for a specific licence using our online application forms.

Related document downloads

General licence 001 2020 Licence to kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage to agriculture, forestry or fisheries, or prevent the spread of disease PDF [171.0 KB]
General licence 002 2020 Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of preserving public health and public safety PDF [164.7 KB]
General licence 004 2020 Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of conserving flora and fauna, including wild birds PDF [195.8 KB]
General licence 005 2020 Licence to allow the killing or taking or destruction of the eggs of ruddy duck (oxyura jamaicensis) PDF [166.3 KB]
General licence 006 2020 Licence to take birds' eggs from abandoned nest boxes PDF [155.7 KB]
General licence 007 2020 Licence to keep wild birds of species listed on schedule 4 for rehabilitation PDF [88.4 KB]
General licence 008 2020 Licence to take eggs of mallard duck (anas platyrhynchos) to rear and release PDF [121.2 KB]
General licence 009 2020 Licence to release wild-bred schedule 9 birds PDF [127.1 KB]
General licence 010 2020 Licence to permit the sale of certain captive bred species of live bird PDF [130.4 KB]
General licence 011 2020 Licence to permit the sale and exhibition of mealy redpoll (carduelis flammea flammea) PDF [122.8 KB]
General licence 012 2020 Licence to sell dead wild birds PDF [78.8 KB]
General licence 013 2020 Licence to permit the competitive showing of certain captive-bred live wild birds and allow the keeping of certain birds in show cages for training purposes PDF [175.5 KB]
General licence 014 2020 Licence to permit the incubation of eggs and rearing of chicks of captive bred schedule 4 birds for up to 15 days without resisting PDF [72.0 KB]
General licence 015 2020 Licence for laboratories and scientific institutions to retain biological samples taken during the investigation of offences PDF [118.4 KB]
General licence 016 2020 Licence to take certain wild birds from food premises for the purpose of preserving public health and public safety PDF [190.8 KB]
General bird licences October 2019 review FAQ Frequently asked questions about the October 2019 general bird licence review PDF [426.7 KB]
General Licence 018 Licence To Possess Dead Specimens For Research And Educational Purposes And For The Purposes Of Any Public Exhibition PDF [213.8 KB]

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