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 13/2023 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 take by hand and destroy eggs of wild birds, or any part of such an egg, for the sole purpose of allowing the removal and prompt destruction of abandoned and unsuccessful eggs from nest boxes before the commencement of the next breeding season.
Who is authorised to use this General Licence?
Operators can be the owner or occupier, or any person authorised by the owner or occupier of the land on which the action authorised is taken.
What other information must operators know before considering use of this General Licence?
- understand this General Licence and comply with its terms and conditions
- only use it for the purpose of conserving wild birds
When and where is this General Licence valid?
Across Scotland from 1 January to 31 December 2023 unless previously revoked, or a restriction applies.
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 are the general conditions of this General Licence?
- Abandoned or unsuccessful eggs may not be removed between 01 February and 31 July.
- Eggs removed from nest boxes shall either be destroyed immediately or sent to an authorised authority (e.g. National Museums of Scotland). If an operator intends to give the eggs to an authorised authority, they must do so within three days of taking the eggs from the nest box.
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.
- “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 Animals & Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020 (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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