In its evidence submitted to the Secretary of State on the sudden revocation of three General Licences, the NGO roundly condemns Natural England’s replacements.

In its detailed evidence submitted to the Secretary of State on the sudden revocation of three General Licences, the National Gamekeepers' Organisation (NGO) roundly condemns Natural England’s replacements.

NE's new General Licences for crows, woodpigeons and Canada geese are 'unworkable', says the NGO, whilst NE's interim Individual Licensing Scheme has proved 'an absolute disaster;' being late, dysfunctional and legally chaotic. The new licences all came without proper consultation or advance notice.  

In its submission, the NGO calls on the Secretary of State to 'sort it out now' by issuing simple pragmatic licences so that bird control can be resumed straight away.

Liam Bell, Chairman of the NGO said, “What makes this situation even more absurd is that documents released on Friday by Wild Justice, led by Chris Packham,  reveal that the threat of a legal challenge was limited to a single ground only which could easily have been addressed by Natural England in other ways.  Basically NE caved in and this has precipitated a rural crisis.  The ultimate losers in this catastrophe are vulnerable wild birds, livestock and farm incomes. We now look to the Secretary of State to sort it out without delay.”

The NGO’s submission includes the background that led to the General Licences being introduced in 1992 as well as supporting evidence which identifies nine crucial elements as to what the new general licences should look like.

Liam Bell concludes, “In our submission we are urging the Secretary of State to issues licences covering all the former species and licensing purposes.  This can be done on a few sides of papers, as it always was.  Every day lost to the ongoing crisis sees more gamebirds, wildlife, crops and livestock damaged by these very common problematic birds.  The result of this is devastating for those of us who strive hard to maintain the careful balance in our countryside. It will take many years to rectify the damage that has been inflicted on our wildlife and rural environments by Natural England’s atrocious actions.”

The NGO’s full submission can be viewed on its website at:



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.





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