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
Any survey work you had planned as part of a species licence application should only be undertaken where absolutely necessary following the latest social distancing guidelines from the government.
- Check the latest guidance provided by environmental businesses such as the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the RSPB or the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).
- As it may not be possible to update your surveys this season, this year we will extend this and accept surveys from the last three years.
- You should complete your survey at the first available and appropriate opportunity once restrictions are lifted.
If you have further question you can contact our species team via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
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.