You may remember this handy visual aid published by BASC a while ago – it shows the scale of revocation of permission to use lethal means to kill particular bird species (listed down the side) for particular legitimate reasons (listed along the top). BASC basically called for all the red areas of the table to be coloured in green by Natural England and/or Defra so that life could be as it were before Wild Justice’s successful legal challenge of the General Licences GL04, GL05 and GL06. This seemed to ignore the unlawful nature of the previous licences. And we took the mickey, gently, out of BASC for calling for the reinstatement of Collared Dove killing for the purposes of preventing serious damage to fisheries.
The cells in the table coloured green (Priority 1), yellow (Priority 2) and brown (Priority 3) were Natural England’s plans for issuing new licences in pretty quick time. Then Defra waded in and took over the process of issuing new licences with five working days consultation period starting on the Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of May (Saturday 4 May). That consultation ended on 13 May and Defra said that Michael Gove would take a further week to review all the information and come to a decision – that would take us to the 20 May.
Here’s a simple summary of what has, and more importantly what hasn’t, happened.
Now we appreciate that ‘from 29 April’ includes all of the rest of time in the universe but five weeks later only three of the allegedly high priority 10 new licences have seen the light of day (and they aren’t very good – but we’ll come back to that later this week).
Not surprisingly, the progress on the Priority 2 licences has been as follows:
We’ve been waiting for three weeks to see any of these…
And given the above, it is not surprising that progress on the Priority 3 licences has also been non-existent:
None of this can be blamed on Natural England – the responsibility for this was wrested from them by Defra in early May. And Defra promised that Michael Gove would make his decisions by 20 May. That is now two weeks overdue:
So, if BASC wanted to update their handy visual aid at the top of this post they could colour everything in red except the three general licences published by Natural England before Defra decisively stepped in and did … nothing so far.