General licence for birds - GL06/2024 - To keep disabled, wild-bred Schedule 4 birds for veterinary treatment
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 06/2024 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?
Qualified vets are authorised to keep any disabled wild-bred bird listed on Schedule 4 to the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), namely:
for up to six weeks without registration in order to give the bird professional treatment with a view to releasing it when it is no longer disabled.
What other information must qualified vets know before considering use of this General Licence?
Qualified vets must:
- understand this General Licence and comply with its terms and conditions
- only use it for the conservation of wild birds
When and where is this General Licence valid?
Across Scotland from 1 January to 31 December 2024 unless previously revoked.
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 general conditions apply to this General Licence?
1. 1. A qualified vet using this General Licence must keep a record of each bird they keep for a minimum of one year.
2. If a qualified vet suspects that a bird has been incapacitated through illegal activity, this suspicion must be reported to the police.
- Qualified vets holding any disabled, wild-bred bird longer than six weeks must be registered with the Animal and Plant Health Agency and hold a licence to keep the bird un-rung during rehabilitation.
- The bird record referred to above should detail:
- The name and address of the person from whom the bird was received (if applicable)
- The species of bird and the date on which it was taken into possession or control for rehabilitation
- The injuries sustained by the bird at the time it is taken into possession or control, the cause of those injuries (if known) and treatment carried out
- General Licence 05/2023 permits certain other persons to keep any disabled wild-bred bird listed on this General Licence for up to 15 days without registration.
For the purposes of this General Licence;
“NatureScot” means Scottish Natural Heritage acting under its operating name NatureScot.
"wild bird" means any bird of a species which is ordinarily resident in or is a visitor to the UK or any member State or the European territory of any member State in a wild state but does not include poultry. "Bird" includes all stages from chick to adult.
"a wild-bred listed on Schedule 4 bird" means a wild bird included in Schedule 4 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) other than a bird treated as bred in captivity within the meaning of Section 27(2) of the Act.
“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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