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Natural England Revokes General Licences for Controlling Certain Wild Birds

Thu 13 June 2019

“A significant change in the law, affecting many clients who farm and have young lambs and valuable crops to protect, should not be made without consultation and prior notice” said Oliver Harwood, a Partner in RH & RW Clutton. 

“Natural England has withdrawn an essential tool from land managers which enables them to manage corvids - well known for attacking young lambs and other pest species - including pigeon which can decimate crops, at only 72 hours notice with no consultation. This at a stroke puts many people on the wrong side of the law while carrying out essential country tasks” he added.

RH & RW Clutton calls on Natural England to think again rather than take knee jerk reactions to potential legal threats.


Natural England (NE) has revoked three general licences in England for controlling certain wild birds with effect from Thursday 25 April. These licences (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose and some gulls and pigeons. See for more details.  

Natural England has stated that if people need to take action in the meantime they will need to apply for an individual licence, using a simplified process which will be available on from 25 April and that anyone exercising lethal control of birds after Thursday 25 April 2019 without applying for an individual licence will not be covered by a general licence and could be committing an offence.

Please contact Oliver Harwood ( if you have any concerns about how this may affect you and what licences you may need to apply for.  


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