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
  • how to apply for a licence
  • the definition of a satisfactory alternative

Public health and safety: Issues with nesting birds

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.

Gull management plan

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.

You should first draw up a gull management plan to help coordinate the actions you must take to resolve the public health and safety issues caused by gulls.

Read the Gull Management Plans: Planning and implementing a strategy to help tackle gull problems

You can also consider using General Licence 03/2019. If this doesn’t cover the relevant gull species, you can apply for a licence using the form below.

Air safety

Birds may pose a risk to air safety. General Licence 04/2019 permits actions against certain species to protect air safety.

For bird species not listed on the general licence, you can apply for a licence using the form below.

Download the Licence application form – take or kill birds to preserve air safety

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. But 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.

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.


Licensing Team

01463 725364

[email protected]