Lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus). ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

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.

If small numbers of gulls are causing public health and safety issues at a single location, and issues are not anticipated to reoccur in future years, you can use our one-off Licence application form - to take or kill wild gulls, their nests or eggs (single-site and single-year).

If you need a licence for multiple sites where gull public health and safety issues are being experienced (multi-site), or you require a licence for a site where it is likely there will be reoccurring year-on-year public health and safety issues with gulls (multi-year), then you should apply for a standard gull licence using our Licence application and return form - to take or kill wild gulls, their nests or eggs (multi-site and/or multi-year).

For a standard gull licence (covering multiple sites and sites which require a licence year-on-year) you will be required to prepare a “Licence application and return form - to take or kill wild gulls, their nests or eggs (multi-site and/or multi-year)” for each location that you want covered by your licence.  This will list the licensable actions you want to carry out, and the gull prevention and dissuasion measures that will be implemented this year and in the future, to minimise the public health and safety issues experienced on site.  You will also be asked to provide a justification as to why alternatives to licensable activities will not solve the public health and safety issues being experienced.  At the end of the year you will be required to fill in and submit the return section of the form listing all gull management activities undertaken on each site, together with a description of how successful these have been at resolving the issues.

Air safety

Birds may pose a risk to air safety. If you require a licence for this purpose please email [email protected] 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.

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

[email protected]