3 new General Licences were issued today relating to bird control. The most relevant for our customer base will be WML-GL35 – To kill or take certain species of wild birds to preserve public health or public safety.
GL35 is a 13 page document which can be downloaded via the attachment below. A summary of some the key points are as follows:
Issued to preserve public health or public safety
permits authorised persons to ‘kill or take; and to take, damage or destroy the nests, or take or destroy the eggs of the following species:-
Licence Conditions – There are a number of conditions applicable to the use of this licence and I would like to highlight Licence Condition 1:-
“before [and when] using this licence, reasonable endeavours must have been made to achieve the purpose in question using lawful methods not covered by this licence (unless their use would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate in the circumstances).”
These new General Licences do not remove the need for everyone to carry out preventative measures. Good hygiene and proofing practices are still a base condition of the licences. Even if inside a building, non lethal methods of removal must be attempted. Where lawful methods could be deemed ‘disproportionate in the circumstances’, resulting in the use of GL35, then it is expected that an investigation takes place to establish how the bird(s) gained access and what can be done to prevent future problems. It is strongly recommended that our customers record each incident that involves the use of the licence, including other lawful methods which have been used to resolve the problem.
What does this all mean?
Users do not need to apply for, or register to use these licences. For most of our customers, the main species covered within this licence is the Feral Pigeon (Columba livia). Most other bird species will require a separate, individual licence application. Our staff can carry out lethal methods to remove feral pigeons to preserve public health of public safety within the conditions of the licence.
When GL05 was revoked at very short notice there was a lot of uncertainty, confusion and trouble for a number of our customers. The legal challenge to the old General Licences, highlights the importance of following the conditions under which these new licences are issued.
Defra requested information on the impact of revoking the General Licences from interested parties giving us just over a week to provide details. The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) have written to Defra on behalf of it’s members highlighting the importance of the General Licences and also the impact that their revocation is having on Public Health and Safety. Our industry awaits the outcome of this consultation.
Note: This only applies to our customers in England, the General Licences for other countries in the UK are still active. In Wales the licences can be found here but two of the most common General Licences used by our customers in Wales can be found at the bottom of this page. These are General Licences and as such, no application is required but clearly the criteria within the individual General Licence must be met.
Whilst the General Licences have been revoked, it is possible to apply for individual licences to remove birds which are causing issues with public health and safety. The procedure for our customers is as follows:
Download the Licence application form (see bottom of page). Note that the .pdf can only be opened with the most up to date versions of Adobe Reader and a number of customers are having problems with this – in this situation download the Word version.
The form must then be completed, confirming location, bird species and what non lethal methods of control have taken place or need to take place prior to any lethal control methods.
You will receive an auto receipt confirming that Natural England have received your application.
Attempts to remove the bird(s) using non lethal methods must be carried out by our customers prior to the application being submitted. Note that there is a significant backlog with Natural England so it is unlikely that you will get a quick response. Due to this backlog it may be necessary to carry out lethal control prior to the licence being granted by NE. However, this can only be done if all other non lethal methods to remove the bird have been carried out and all the criteria laid out in the application form has been met.
We are doing all that we can to minimise the impact of these changes and will keep you up to date as soon as we get further information. If you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact us via telephone 01189323755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This may cause some delays for our customers if they have any problems which would have been covered within the General Licences. Our aim is to minimise and disruption but our customers will need to apply for temporary licenses on a case by case basis until the amended general licences are introduced.
Please contact us if you require further information.