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 are currently in the process of developing an online application system for gull public health & safety licences.  We are not accepting licence applications for the 2022 gull nesting season until early 2022, when we anticipate the new online application system to be launched.  We will provide information regarding the new online application process in early 2022.

In the meantime, if you require a licence for non-nesting gulls for public health and safety purposes (e.g. at waste disposal sites) then please apply using the following licence application form: Licence application form - to take or kill wild gulls, their nests or eggs (serious damage or public health & safety one-off / non-nesting adults)

Only one location/property can be applied for per form.

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