Our new legal challenge: General Licence GL26

On Friday morning Wild Justice launched a new legal challenge of general licences issued by Natural England.

The formal legal letter is reproduced in full below.

Wild Justice is challenging two aspects of GL26 (and only insofar as it relates to the killing of Carrion Crows to protect Pheasants), namely Natural England’s approach (1) to “alternatives” for the purposes of section 16(1A) Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA 1981), and (2) to “kept” for the purposes of section 27(1) WCA 1981.

Mark Avery of Wild Justice said;

Licence GL26 is a shoddy document.  It is scientifically threadbare and, we contend, legally flawed. It does not form a sound basis to justify widespread, unmonitored, unlimited control of Carrion Crows to protect livestock. We are glad that Defra has promised a proper review of licensing of the killing of wild birds because, on the evidence of this licence, that killing often amounts to unjustified casual killing. We call upon Defra to announce the date and substance of that review as quickly as possible so that these matters can properly be examined before 2020’s licences are issued.  We also repeat our call to Defra not to issue any general licences to allow the lethal control of Jay, Jackdaw, Rook or Magpie for the purpose of protecting wild birds.  But now we are asking for the elements of GL26 which relate to protection of Pheasants and other gamebirds to be quashed and those elements which relate to other livestock to be thoroughly scrutinised in the review of general licences promised by Defra.