Natural England revoke General Licences

Yesterday’s surprise announcement from Natural England to revoke General Licences, GL04 (for the prevention of serious damage to crops and livestock), GL05 (for prevention of disease and ensuring public safety) and GL06 (for conservation purposes) as of today Wednesday 24th April it will have massive impacts to a wide range of sectors, not just gamekeepers but the likes of farmers, pest controllers and anyone else who relies on these licences for the routine control of these problem birds.
This change is a result of Wild Justice who served a pre-action letter to Natural England to JR it’s decision to allow people to rely on the general licence having as a method of controlling the following target species once they have exhausted any other reasonable methods.   The following are the key moorland species that will be affected, Crows, Jackdaws, Feral and Wood Pigeons, Jays, Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, Magpies, Rooks and Canada Geese.  This effectively means that after today our #LarsenTraps and Crow cages will become illegal to catch corvids.
As of tomorrow (Thursday 25th April) anyone can apply for an individual license and Natural England have confirmed they will look to get these new workable licences issued after next Monday (29th April), however I’m not sure how they intend on processing the thousands of applications which I expect them to receive so application times may go up quite drastically.
NYMMO believe it is simply unacceptable to remove this vital management tool used by all our gamekeepers at such a crucial time of the year for all the ground nesting birds and to drop this bombshell without any consultation is a complete failure by Natural England.
We would urge you all to complain directly to Natural England either by telephone on 0300 060 3900 (lines open from 8.30am) or by email direct to their complaints section on https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/4LIRL/, and with this hopefully they will realise the extent of what they have instigated and make them think before they make their next move.
We would also encourage individuals to contact their local MP’s to highlight their concerns and also the absolute lack of discussion prior to the decision, all you need is your full name and address on the email.
The harsh reality is that unless this situation is rectified quickly then many Red Listed species along with Game Birds and Song Birds will definitely face decline.