Wild Birds General Licence Survey

Closes 5 Dec 2019

Opened 12 Sep 2019

Overview

All wild bird species, their eggs and nests (whilst they are in use or being built) are protected by law. However, licences in the form of individual, class or general licences can be granted to allow wild birds to be removed or lethally controlled where they are causing problems and certain legal tests are met. Government wildlife management policy is that people should be free to manage wildlife but, before carrying out lethal control, they should first consider taking less harmful action to resolve the issue.

What is this survey for?

This survey forms part of the process of consulting and engaging with stakeholders for the 2019 review on general licences to kill or take wild birds in England (nature conservation is a devolved matter and this review applies to England only).

The aim of the review is to deliver a robust system of licensing to manage the issues that arise between the protection of wild birds and the legitimate activities people need to carry out for specific purposes such as protecting livestock or crops and for conservation purposes. Defra is leading this review in close partnership with Natural England.

In parallel to seeking information in this survey, Defra and Natural England will be conducting a series of workshops with interested stakeholders to cover other issues such as activity on protected sites. We will also compile and consider other available evidence to inform the review.

More information on general licences.

What does this survey cover?

This survey builds upon the useful information that stakeholders provided as part of the call for evidence in May 2019. It asks for specific information to feed into the development of a future licensing system.

The survey asks you what you consider general licences for the following purposes should cover, and should not cover, and your supporting evidence:

  • to kill or take wild birds to conserve wild birds and to conserve flora and fauna
  • to kill or take wild birds to preserve public health or public safety
  • to kill or take wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters

The survey will also seek information on other related issues including record keeping when acting under general licences.

Please see further information about the themes of the survey below.

Who can respond to this survey?

This survey seeks information from all stakeholders with an interest in the future direction of general licensing. This includes people who use general licences and those with an interest in how a system of general licensing might operate. Some questions are more applicable to specific groups, e.g. those who currently use the licences, and respondents can choose not to answer questions they do not consider relevant to them.

How to use this survey

The survey has 6 themes as outlined further below. It is not necessary to respond to every question. Please respond to those that are most relevant to you. You must complete the ‘About You’ section in order that we can consider the views and information submitted. Any personal information submitted would be processed subject to the data protection provisions described in the 'Data Protection and GDPR section'. In providing information for this survey, please do not include details that could identify you, your address or the location of your business premises.

Theme A – Purpose ‘to conserve wild birds and to conserve flora and fauna’

In this section we ask you to identify which wild bird species you consider need to be controlled, and those that should not be controlled, under a general licence for the purpose of conservation and to provide evidence to support your view. This purpose covers the conservation of other wild birds, other animals or plants.

Theme B – Purpose ‘to preserve public health or public safety’

In this section we ask you to identify which wild bird species you consider need to be controlled, and those that should not be controlled, under a general licence for the purpose of preserving public health and safety and to provide evidence to support your view. This purpose covers the prevention of the spread of human disease, or where wild birds, or their nests, are causing other problems such as blocking flues.

Theme C – Purpose ‘to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters’

In this section we ask you to identify which wild bird species you consider need to be controlled, and those that should not be controlled, under a general licence for the purpose of preventing serious damage and to provide evidence to support your view. This purpose covers the prevention of serious damage to a range of potential categories including livestock and crops.

Theme D – Alternatives to lethal control

We are asking you in this section to tell us about what alternative measures you have used, or know about, to killing or taking wild birds under a general licence. We are also asking you to provide any evidence you have about how well these alternative measures work.

Theme E – Record keeping

This section is only relevant to users of general licences. We are asking you in this section to tell us if you keep records when acting under any of the three licensing purposes (see Themes A, B & C). If you keep records, we would also like to know what kinds of records you keep and how long it takes you to make these records.

Theme F - Your views on the role of General Licences to manage Wild Birds

In this section of the survey, we are asking for your views on any issues not covered in the rest of the survey in relation to the current general licensing system. We are seeking your views about what you consider to be the key issues in relation to the general licensing of wild birds, and the way the system of general licensing operates.

PLEASE COMPLETE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE ONLY ONCE.

Tell us about wild bird general licensing

Audiences

  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Environmental campaigners
  • Animal welfare campaigners
  • Food Business Operators
  • Food Industry
  • Government Departments
  • Government Agencies
  • Devolved Administrations
  • National Park Authorities
  • Environmental professional services
  • Local Authorities
  • Waste Producers and Handlers
  • Business/Private Sector
  • Policy Teams
  • Local Authorities
  • Producer Compliance Schemes
  • Non-Government Organisation
  • Member of the General Public
  • Landowners and their representative bodies
  • Farmers
  • Fishermen
  • Horticulture Industry
  • Tenant Farmers
  • Agricultural Landlords
  • Professional and Membership Organisations/Agencies
  • Public Bodies

Interests

  • Natural environment
  • Local nature partnerships
  • Biodiversity
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Tree and plant health
  • Waste and recycling
  • Local environments
  • Conservation
  • DEFRA Policy
  • Policy and Delivery
  • Poultry industry
  • Dairy industry
  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • Poultry
  • Sheep and goats
  • Animal welfare
  • Growing and crops
  • Farm management
  • Forestry
  • Sheep, goat and deer production/marketing
  • Rural economy and communities
  • National Parks
  • Nature reserves
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Conservation
  • Wildlife crime
  • Wildlife management
  • Protecting wildlife
  • Non-native species