Today’s licence, issued by Natural England at 8pm on the Friday before the Bank Holiday weekend and with no prior warning, is vastly more restrictive than the old General Licence (GL04) which it replaces.

A new General Licence for controlling woodpigeons to prevent serious damage to crops has been condemned by the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation as “appalling.”

Today’s licence, issued by Natural England at 8pm on the Friday before the Bank Holiday weekend and with no prior warning, is vastly more restrictive than the old General Licence (GL04) which it replaces.

The new licence (numbered GL31) can only be used by people growing crops or by those acting on their behalf. It requires licence users to be able to show the police or NE if asked what type of crop they are protecting, what alternative non-lethal methods of preventing pigeon damage have been used and continue to be used (or why they have not been used), and also what measures have been and are being taken to minimise losses due to other species and causes.

A licence user must also be able to show why the threat of damage is sufficiently serious to merit action, saying “Relevant evidence will include examples of actual losses during the present year or in recent years.” Licence users are asked, in an ‘advice’ section, to exercise restraint in severe weather and the licence ends with a threat that if it is misused for recreational or commercial purposes, NE may review it.

NGO Chairman, Liam Bell, said: “This new licence is appalling. In terms of restrictions and conditions it goes way beyond anything seen before. It will make pigeon control as we know it wholly impractical. Farmers and those who help them to control pests will be in uproar. The NGO will do everything it can to get this hopeless licence withdrawn and replaced.”

In a separate and important development tonight, it has also emerged that the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, will be taking back control of bird licensing from Natural England, at least for a time, starting tomorrow (Saturday 4 May). Commenting on this news, Liam Bell said: “NE made a pig’s ear of licensing and changes were certainly needed. We must hope that Defra can do better and we will offer them every assistance in sorting out this mess. The priority is to get workable licences back up as soon as possible, especially at this critical time for both livestock and wildlife.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact: Morag Walker on mobile 07736 124097 or email: morag@moragwalkerpr.co.uk

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. The NGO defends and promotes gamekeeping and gamekeepers and works to ensure high standards throughout the profession. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that keepering was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. Today, there are 13,000 members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.  www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk

 

 

Join the National Gamekeepers Organisation and Support Gamekeeping

Trade & Corporate

£100/year

Gamekeeper Member

£45/year

Supporter Member

£45/year

Family
 

£100/year

Joining the NGO is easy and can be done now online.
Or if you prefer, call 01833 660 869

Advertisements

Join our newsletter mailing list: