The NGO is continuing to keep members informed on the General Licences situation and here is the latest update.
The NGO issued the following brief update on Thursday 9 May 2019:
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) is continuing to do all it can to make sure the ongoing bird licensing crisis in England is sorted.
We are engaged at the highest level with Defra, who have now taken over all decision-making on General Licences.
A strong NGO response to the Secretary of State’s ‘call for evidence’ will be sent in before the deadline of 5pm on Monday 13th May. It will call for an imminent return to workable General Licences for all necessary species and licensing purposes, emphasising the damage that is being caused to gamebird interests, wildlife, livestock and crops whilst control remains unlawful in the meantime.
We have already made it clear why we believe the three General Licences issued by NE just before it was stripped of the job are unworkable. They impose restrictions way beyond what the law justifies.
And we remain in daily contact with Natural England too, at Director level, because they continue to be responsible for issuing all Individual Licences.
The current legal situation remains as per our update on this website dated Saturday 4 May.
In terms of timing and what may happen next, this is of course now in Defra’s hands. Their call for evidence closes on Monday and the Secretary of State has indicated he will take a further week to analyse what has been said and to take a decision. Hopefully, he will decide to issue the workable General Licences that we and all the other shooting and countryside bodies are calling for.
If that is what the Secretary of State does do, then the earliest we might have a route out of this mess could be sometime during the week commencing 20th May - but that’s a best case scenario. It could take a lot longer or he could decide to take a different route altogether
In the meantime, NE’s Individual Licensing scheme is supposed to offer an interim solution to those in urgent need of licences. The applications forms for it can be found here:
We will, as ever, continue to keep members informed and to update the NGO website whenever there are further developments.