Natural England Blocks Conservation Effort
Spotted on the National Gamekeepers Organisation news feed, this letter in response to Natural England's stance on conservation and licensing.
Dear Member Natural England has recently announced a change in its approach to licensing which affects Individual Licences. Please find the full NGO response here. The NGO has received a letter from Natural England, which has been reviewing its overall approach to licensing, announcing that it will no longer be granting Individual Licences for the conservation of wild pheasants and red-legged partridges “even where there are indirect benefits to nature conservation.” The full letter, which can be read here, states that Individual Licences to control predatory birds to prevent harm to other species on the ‘green’ list of birds will no longer be issued by Natural England unless there is a proven “population-level impact on the wild bird species to be conserved. ” Natural England says that: “Anecdotal accounts or photos of individual predation events alone are unreliable evidence.” Please note: General Licences to control predatory birds to prevent harm to other species are still available but only to protect bird species on the ‘red’ and ‘amber’ lists. Despite this change in approach, we are encouraging members to continue to apply for Individual Licences to help wildlife by controlling crows, magpies, rooks and jackdaws, just as gamekeepers have always done. We believe that if your applications are refused without lawful reason, Natural England could well find itself subject to Judicial Review by the High Court. The change in the way Natural England manages Individual Licences is outlined on a new blog: https://naturalengland.blog.gov.uk/2020/11/16/individual-licences-to-control-birds-how-natural-england-will-manage-applications-in-2021/ General Licences On the 1 January, Defra published new General Licences for the control of pest and predatory birds in England to be used from the 1 January 2021. Please see the latest member update issued earlier this year: https://www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk/articles/new-general-licences-for-england-2021