DEFRA omnishambles

Dear DEFRA, we asked you at a so-called stakeholder meeting in early November about the conditions applying to your (then) upcoming general licences for bird killing.

On 23 November we emailed you asking the same question in writing ‘under the conservation licence, does DEFRA consider that its licences allow the killing of say, Carrion Crows, at any time of year or only in the breeding season when Carrion Crows take eggs and chicks?‘. You replied saying that you would get back to us – you didn’t.

After the publication of the said licences we contacted you again, on 5 January, and you originally told us that the information would be published within two weeks, but then had to ‘phone back and say it might take longer than two weeks.

More than a further two months have passed and you have not published the information and you have not got back to us. You will be aware of the judgment of Justice Jarman at which you were an Interested Party, where he stated ‘Mr Corner QC with Ms Sargent, on behalf of NRW, submit that the licences only authorise action where there is a present risk to the stated interests. Thus, in the example given above NRW accepts that the relevant licence (004) should be used only to kill crows during the months between egg laying and when the chicks are well grown, namely April to July, and only in those areas where curlews nest, which do not extend to urban areas. It should not permit someone to kill a crow in the autumn or in an urban area on the basis that that bird might someday at some place take a curlew’s egg or chick.‘.

Our query is a perfectly reasonable request about a licence which applies to most of England and purports to license the killing of wild birds which would otherwise be a criminal offence. Please answer this query as a matter of urgency.

In any case, as a Department your word cannot be trusted and you are an administrative shambles. Please let us know the route by which we can complain about your lack of responsiveness and repeated broken promises.

Wild Justice