Birds: licences for public health and safety and air safety

People and wildlife usually coexist happily but sometimes the presence of nesting birds close to people can result in problems.

Where wild birds pose a threat to public health or safety, we may issue a licence to permit certain actions that might otherwise constitute an offence in relation to wild birds. There must be no satisfactory alternative.

This may include situations where problems arise as a result of some bird species using houses and other buildings as nest sites.

Read our information note to find out:

  • what constitutes a public health and safety issue
  • the definition of a satisfactory alternative

Public health and safety: Issues with nesting birds

Gulls - public health and safety

If gulls are causing, or expected to cause, a public health and safety risk, you should address the issue as soon as possible. Failure to do so increases the risk and makes a long-term solution to the problem less likely. Read our Guidance on gull management.

We have two licence application forms for the purpose of preserving public health or safety for gulls.  If you require a licence, please read the information below to determine which licence application form you should use.

Note that we will not be accepting licence applications for the 2022 gull nesting season until early 2022.

If you are experiencing a public health or safety issue caused by gulls, then you can apply for a licence using our “Licence application form - to take or kill wild gulls, their nests or eggs (serious damage or public health & safety one-off / non-nesting adults)”, provided:

  • Only adult or juvenile gulls, not nesting gulls, are present on site (e.g. waste disposal sites); OR
  • Small numbers of nesting gulls are present on site, and the issues are not anticipated to recur in future years (e.g. a householder requiring a one-off licence for nesting gulls on the roof of their home).

If you are experiencing a public health and safety issue, then you can apply using our “Licence application and return form - to take or kill wild gulls, their nests or eggs (multi-site / recurring sites)”, provided:

  • The gulls are nesting; AND
  • The issues caused by gulls are likely to recur in future years (e.g. large nesting sites) OR you want to be licensed for multiple sites, regardless of whether the issues are likely to recur in future years (e.g. a pest controller or council who will be carrying out nesting gull control at multiple locations).

Note if you apply using our multi-site/recurring sites application form, each location/property at which you plan to carry out gull management at must be applied for individually (i.e. one location/property per form).  You will be issued with a standard gull licence covering all gull species, all licensable activities, for all of Scotland, but you need to apply for each individual location at which you wish to use the standard gull licence separately.

Air safety

Birds may pose a risk to air safety. If you require a licence for this purpose please email licensing@nature.scot with the following information:

  • Your name and contact details
  • The site name and location
  • The bird species you wish to be licensed for

Other species or purposes

Where wild birds other than gulls pose a threat to public health or safety you can use our Licence application form to take or kill wild birds, their nests or eggs to apply for a licence.

Download the Licence application form – to take or kill wild birds, their nests or eggs

For some situations where birds pose a threat to public health and safety, you may instead use one of our general licences.  These cover relatively commonplace and low-risk situations, and you don't need to apply to use them.

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. Check your licence conditions first: you may be able to appoint agents and assistants without having to get them named on your licence.

Find out about adding persons to a licence.

You must also remember to contact us to renew your licence. Licences aren’t renewed automatically.  We must receive a return before we can renew a licence.

Find out more

Data Protection notice

If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Last updated:

Contact

If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team

01463 725364

licensing@nature.scot