As of 25th April 2019, birds that are classed as “pests” such as woodpigeons, crows, rooks, magpies and jays can no longer be freely killed in England due to the revocation of three General Licenses. Here is everything you need to know about the law changes and how it might affect you.
Why has this change been made?
The change has come after a legal challenge from the environmental group Wild Justice who were claiming that many people shooting these birds are not acting within the boundaries of the law. The campaign was crowdfunded and put before the government’s conservation watchdog, who have now decided to revoke the licenses. The announcement was made on 23rd April 2019 and is to take effect from 25th April 2019.
Which licenses are being revoked?
These are the specific licenses that are being revoked as of the 25th April:
- GL04: To kill/take certain species of bird to prevent damage or disease.
- GL05: To kill/take certain species of bird to maintain public health and safety.
- GL06: To kill/take certain species of bird to conserve flora, fauna, or other wild birds.
Which birds are covered by these three licenses?
These licenses cover 16 species of bird including magpies, jackdaws, jays, rooks, feral and woodpigeons, and crows. Some non-native species that are considered “invasive” are also included, such as Canada geese.
What if I need to control these species of birds?
If you need to control any of the 16 species of bird that will be protected after this change, you will need to apply for an individual license. The process will involve applicants proving that there is ”no reasonable non-lethal alternative”.
How will these changes affect my insurance?
If you currently shoot any of the 16 birds that are included under the three licenses, it is important that you apply for your individual license as soon as possible. Shooting these birds without a license would be a criminal act and any insurance claim would not be covered, so getting the license is important to make sure you remain fully covered by your policy.