Opinion Former Article

BASC responds to publication of new General Licences for England

BASC is advising members that Defra has today published three new general licences for the shooting and trapping of certain birds in England.

The new general licences, which come into effect on 1 January 2021, provide the legal basis for the control of certain birds such as crows and woodpigeon for reasons such as conservation, protecting public health and safety and to prevent damage to crops and livestock.

The publication of the new licences follows lobbying of ministers and MPs by BASC after the current system of licensing became subject to legal challenge in the Spring of 2019.

The new general licences allow for control on protected areas and Defra has advised that they will publish further information on this before the licences come into effect.

All the birds within the current licences remain in at least one or more of the new general licences. It will be essential that users comply fully with the terms and conditions and that the licence is applicable to the circumstances within which they are shooting.

The new general licences are the result of an 18-month Defra led process, which BASC fed into, and a review of the scientific evidence.

Glynn Evans, BASC head of game and gundogs, said: “On first analysis, it’s clear that Defra has tried to produce general licences that are watertight and will bear the scrutiny of a legal challenge.

“However, the terms and conditions are more complex than the current versions they replace and where necessary BASC will continue to make representation to Defra and produce guidance and advice to help people interpret them.”

The new licences are as follows:

Conservation general licence GL40
Public health and safety general licence GL41
Serious damage general licence GL42

The general licences published today in advance of them coming into force in the New Year clearly show the format of the licences and set out key conditions. The detail of two conditions (for trapping and protected sites) will follow and will be reflected in the final published versions of the licences later in the year.

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