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New general licences issued ahead of them coming into force on 1 January 2021.

New general licences for the control of wild birds

Defra has published three new general licences for the control of wild birds, ahead of 1 January 2021.

The new licences (GL40, GL41, GL42) will replace the current general licences (GL34, GL35 and GL36) which expire on the 31 December. From 1st January 2021, licence users will need to act in accordance with the new licence conditions.

General licences are permissive licences, meaning that users do not need to apply for them, but they must comply with their terms and conditions, when undertaking licensed acts. They allow users to kill or take certain species of wild birds for defined purposes such as preventing serious damage to certain commodities such as livestock and crops, for the purposes of conserving wild birds, plants and animals, or for public health and safety reasons.

Where species can no longer be controlled under the General Licence for certain purposes, an individual licence will be needed from Natural England. These species have been removed because of lack of evidence of widespread need and so an individual licence application will require specific evidence of need, proportionality and whether alternatives have been considered.

Defra will publish the finalised licences, with further detail in two areas – conditions on protected sites and trapping – later this year, in advance of the licences coming into effect on 1 January 2021.

The three new general licences are: WML GL40: general licence to kill or take certain species of wild birds to conserve endangered wild birds and flora or fauna. Species covered: carrion crow, jay, magpie, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, monk parakeet, ring-necked parakeet, sacred ibis, Indian house-crow.

WML GL42: general licence to kill or take certain species of wild birds to prevent serious damage and prevent the spread of disease. Species covered: carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, woodpigeon, Canada Goose, monk parakeet, ring-necked parakeet, Egyptian goose, Indian House crow.

For more information contact Defra enquiry line at 03459 33 55 77 or email:

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