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UPDATE (COVID-19) – Natural England

UPDATE (COVID-19) – Natural England Issues Temporary Instructions for the Control of Birds

2020 has seen again changes to the process for those wanting to carryout lethal control of the so called ‘pest species’ as identified under the general licence.

We were required to submit applications for control detailing species, location and justifying action which we did for our clients however due to the large number of requests and the current COVID-19 crisis we have had the response below from Natural England.

This does allow us to complete the work but it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the work to ensure it is justifiable.

WILDLIFE AND COUNTRYSIDE ACT 1981 (AS AMENDED)
I acknowledge receipt of your Bird Licence Application. Your application has now been forwarded to the relevant Delivery Team for further assessment.
Your Customer reference number is: xxxx
Your Case Work reference number is: xxxx
Natural England aims to inform you of our licence decision as soon as possible. Please note that we have received high volumes of bird control licence applications; we are working through these as quickly as possible. The position has changed for many of us as a result of the current restrictions on activity. If you decide you do not need the licence now, please let us know and head your email ‘Licence Application Withdrawal.’
If you require lethal control to be carried out before the determination of your licence application then you may not commit an offence under section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provided that you meet the conditions set out in section 4(3) to 4(6) of the 1981 Act. To do this you must be able to show that your action is necessary for the purpose of:

(a) preserving public health or public safety or air safety;
(b) preventing the spread of disease; or
(c) preventing serious damage to livestock, their foodstuffs, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters. You must also be able to show that there was no other satisfactory solution available for preventing such serious damage.

In addition you must have submitted the relevant application for a licence for the relevant purpose and notified the Minister of Agriculture of any action you take to prevent serious damage as soon as reasonable practicable after you have taken that action. You can do this by sending an e-mail to the GenLicencePh2@naturalengland.org.uk with the words “Section 4 Notification” in the subject header and include your customer number or full details of the name and address of the user and any reference numbers to allow the notification to be matched to your application.

If you do wish to rely on such a defence, you will be responsible for understanding the legislation, and you may wish to take legal advice. All other relevant law must be complied with including, for example, on protected sites any notices to be served under section 28E of the 1981 Act, and the offences under section 28P of the 1981 Act remain applicable.