Over 700 responses to our General Licence consultation

10 October 2019

The NatureScot consultation about wild birds ended yesterday, garnering over 700 responses.

NatureScot will now consider this feedback, along with all other evidence about wild birds. Any changes to the current set of licences will be announced later this year. These changes would apply to all 2020 licences.

The consultation covers circumstances when wild birds can be controlled under General Licence. All wild birds are protected by law. But in some circumstances, NatureScot allows wild birds to be controlled – for example, to prevent serious damage to crops, protect public health, and ensure air safety when flocks of birds are liable to get in flight paths. 

Robbie Kernahan, NatureScot’s Head of Wildlife Management, said:

“We’d like to thank everyone for their feedback. We’ll be looking at all these responses carefully over the next few weeks to ensure that our licences for next year are clear, proportionate and fit-for-purpose.

“Our role is to make sure that wild birds thrive, but we must balance this with making sure the public is safe from health and safety risks, as well as ensuring that farmers can protect their crops.”

General Licences cover relatively common situations – such as preventing agricultural damage and protecting public health and safety – when there’s unlikely to be any conservation impact on a species. They avoid the need for people to apply for individual licences for these specific situations. General Licences must strike the appropriate balance between species conservation and a range of other legitimate interests.

Robbie added:

“We would like to reassure those who are currently operating under the current 2019 General Licences in Scotland that these remain in place, allowing those who comply with the conditions to continue to use them.”