More progress on general licences in Wales

A Jackdaw – should soon be better protected in Wales


At their Board meeting next week, Natural Resources Wales is expected to approve further improvements to their general licences in line with what Wild Justice has argued both in consultation responses and in the courts. And many Wild Justice supporters can take credit for their responses to the consultation being a part of that process – thank you!

The board paper (Review of NRW’s approach to regulating the shooting and trapping of Wild Birds: General Licences 22-03-15 click here – paragraphs 31 and 32) takes on board Wild Justice’s arguments about the ‘conservation licence GL004’ by:

  • restricting the scope of the protected species to those which actually nest in Wales (see our blog on this subject almost two whole years ago – click here)
  • restricting the period under which the conservation licence can be used (see the judgment of Justice Jarman – click here)
  • removing Magpie, Jackdaw and Jay (see previous Wild Justice blog on Jackdaws, and Mark Avery’s several blogs on Jays) from GL004 (leaving only one species, namely Carrion Crow).

NRW is being too modest about its proposals. They will, if approved, mean that Wales has by far the best, the most scientifically robust, conservation general licence across the UK (see this comparison – click here).

We’ll have to see what the NRW Board says about the paper but given that NRW has done an evidence review, carried out a public consultation and told a judge what the limits on their licence GL004 are, it would be an exceptional slap in the face for the science, the public, the courts and NRW staff if the Board were not to approve these recommendations.

We note that elsewhere in the paper (paragraph 30) NRW proposes to ‘define in the general licence the particular species-to-purpose combinations where lethal control is authorised’. That sounds sensible if it means, as we believe it does, that it will be made clear that you can’t kill a Woodpigeon because it might attack a lamb nor a Magpie because it might eat your Oil Seed Rape crop. We’ll look closely when more detail is available but on the face of it, this too reduces the casual licensing of casual killing of birds. We recommend this approach to other nations.

Well done, NRW staff! Let’s hope your Board follows through on these sensible measures. You will be leading the way across the four UK nations…

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