Natural England slowly begins to get a grip on casual killing of birds

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is grumpily coming to terms with the changes to their job description that we explained back at the beginning of January – no longer can one kill corvids to protect released non-native gamebirds such as Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges and the conservation licence can only be used to ‘protect’ a list of species of conservation concern.

On designated wildlife sites such as SSSIs in England the general licences do not apply unless specifically authorised by Natural England. Rightly, Natural England is refusing licences for casual killing of corvids on spurious conservation grounds and wrongly gamekeepers are moaning about it. This is just Natural England beginning to do its job and stems from the changes brought about as a result of the Wild Justice legal challenges. Have a look at the Natural England letter which spells this out – click here. [By the way, the letter isn’t perfect and we’ll be pointing this out to Natural England.]

Wild Justice hasn’t changed the law, but we have changed the way that long-existing laws are now being implemented (see this Wild Justice blog from late December).

Those responsible for casual killing of millions of birds over the years aren’t best pleased by these reforms. We see the gamekeepers are suggesting they might take legal action against Natural England on this matter. They probably won’t, but Wild Justice would be willing to help Natural England with the legal arguments should any such legal challenge arise.