General licence for birds - GL04/2024 - To take red grouse using certain methods in order to administer medication or collect samples
General Licences allow authorised people to carry out activities that would otherwise be illegal under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). They cover situations where we are satisfied that there is no other satisfactory solution in respect of the species to which they relate and the circumstances in which the licensed action may be taken.
Terms and conditions
If you operate under General Licence 04/2024 you must meet the following terms and conditions otherwise your actions may be illegal which could lead to prosecution.
What can this General Licence be used for?
Authorised people (operators) can temporarily take red grouse (Lagopus lagopus) for the purpose of disease control using;
- nets or lamps (any form of artificial lighting, mirror or other dazzling device) to allow the administration of medication, or
- to collect samples for disease analysis.
Who is authorised to use this General Licence?
An authorised person may be the owner or occupier of the land on which the action will be carried out, or any person nominated by the owner or occupier of that land.
When and where is this General Licence valid?
Across Scotland from 1 January to 31 December 2024 unless previously revoked.
Red grouse must not be taken under this General Licence between 16 April and 31 July.
What restrictions apply to the use of this General Licence?
This General Licence cannot be used by those convicted of a wildlife crime until that conviction is considered spent in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (as amended), they have received an admonishment or a court discharged them absolutely.
Any person not able to use this General Licence can still apply to NatureScot for an individual licence.
What methods of taking are permitted under this General Licence?
- By hand
- By a hand-held net which must have a minimum opening diameter of 30cm
- Any form of artificial lighting, mirror or other dazzling device
What treatment requirements are there when using this General Licence?
Treatment of individual birds must be by a method and medication prescribed by a veterinary surgeon.
How should red grouse be held to enable collection of faecal samples?
Red grouse caught under the terms of this General Licence may be held in ventilated individual containers of not less than 30cm depth by 30cm width by 30cm height in order to collect samples of faeces for disease assay.
How long can red grouse be kept for under this General Licence?
Birds must be released within 12 hours of being taken.
For the purposes of this General Licence;
“NatureScot” means Scottish Natural Heritage acting under its operating name NatureScot.
“wildlife crime” means any offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994, the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, Deer (Scotland) Act 1996, Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1948, the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912, the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 and the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023 (all as amended).
If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.
Disclaimer: Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has changed its name to NatureScot as of the 24th August 2020.
At the time of publishing, this document may still refer to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and include the original branding. It may also contain broken links to the old domain.
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