Carrion Crows – new licensing regulations

I’ve only scanned this and it needs careful reading but it appears to represent a massive change. Click here.

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24 Replies to “Carrion Crows – new licensing regulations”

  1. This bit is rather intresting IMO.

    "For protected sites with interest features that include bird species, no action authorised by this licence is permitted to take place within those sites or within 300 metres of the boundary of such site. For the avoidance of doubt, this restriction applies to:
    (i) all Special Protection Areas (SPAs);
    (ii) any Ramsar site with Qualifying Features that include bird species; or
    (iii) any Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for which a bird species is a feature of special interest."

    I infer then that gamekeepers on grouse moors are generally excluded from being able to use this licence where that grouse moor contains/ or is contained within a protected site designated for it's birds?

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    1. AnthonyB - this licence , yes. But then grosue atren't livestock whereas Pheasants and reared R-l Partridghes sometimes are (long story). I think it will be very interesting to see what the provisions for killing Carrion Crows (and Magpies and Jays and jackdaws) are for protection of fauna and flora... Maybe that is an area where NE may feel they have to consult...?

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      1. Mark,
        I realised after writing the above that grouse don't count as livestock, which is of course quite an important requirement of a persons ability to use this licence.

        I agree it would be interesting to see those provisions, I would hope though that all the new licences would contain the same clause preventing the use of the licence within the defined protected site types.

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  2. So in reality still allowed to kill native birds just to protect the millions of non native pheasants. Really need greater regulation with the industrial game bird industry in the UK.

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    1. Nigel - my understanding of this licence is that crows would have to reduce the stock of recovered birds (recovered = shot) to below 35% of birds that have been released to reach the serious damage threshold at which point a licence would be issued.

      That's one heck of an impact that crows would have to have. Good luck to them in proving that.

      Which also makes me wonder how on earth NE could have issued licences to kill buzzards to protect game birds. There must be some massively obese buzzards out there...

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      1. Excellent point re special licence for buzzard but more broadly I think Table 2 (definitions of 'serious damage' is a massive step forward and look forward to similar appearing on the GLs in Scotland.

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      2. GWCT figures indicate that the proportion of released birds that are actually shot is generally only 35 - 40% in any case (with all the 'pest' killing the shoots want to do), so I'm not sure 35% is setting the bar very high.

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  3. I appreciate that a detailed reading will take some time but from what I've seen so far, and it will be very interesting to see the licence and guidance for the 'conservation of flora and fauna' in particular this is the fruit of the legal case victory.

    Very well done to the three of you and the legal team. Really, very well done.

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  4. In my naive reading of this, the shooter must scare the birds, even to the point of shooting to scare, before they can shoot to kill.
    If you see somebody trying to shoot a crow without first shouting or waving, they are busted?

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  5. This has been rushed out to pacify commercial interests.
    I can see no mention of guidance for applications to protect flora and fauna,- unless anyone can correct me ?-, it's a good job SNH have not followed suit, or Capercaillie at Abernethy could have a
    hard time this spring.
    This is not the time of year to be jumping through hoops, when vulnerable breeding birds are at risk.

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    1. Traspit - I assume there is another one coming along in a while. And one, or two, for Magpies, and one, or two for Jackdaws.

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      1. A list of new licences can be found here.
        https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/797975/natural-england-general-licence-position-statement.pdf

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    2. Trapit most caper nests that are predated are not lost to corvids and the wetter summers are also a problem for them.

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  6. In view of the success of the legal challenge, I can't see how Natural England are now able to operate ANY general licences.

    Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, S16

    (1A)The appropriate authority—

    (a)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in subsection (1) unless it is satisfied that, as regards that purpose, there is no other satisfactory solution;

    Surely this means that Natural England should see the application BEFORE the licence is granted otherwise how can it be satisfied (ie convinced) that there is no other solution to the claimed problem.

    S8. states that GL26 can be used if the users can demonstrate "if asked" by a Natural England Officer or Police Officer that they comply with the terms of the licence. That, to me, sounds like post approval rather than prior approval.

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    1. "Registration - Users do not need to register to use this licence
      Recording & reporting - Users are advised to keep a record of problems and the use of non-
      lethal methods, but do not need to submit records to Natural England"

      How is Natural England fulfilling it's statutory duty under S16 to be satisfied, before it grants the licence, that there is no alternative solution to the problem?

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  7. Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, S16

    (1A)The appropriate authority—

    (b)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in paragraphs (e) to (h) of that subsection otherwise than on a selective basis and in respect of a small number of birds.

    Only a 'small number' of birds can be killed so the numbers must, presumably, be specified and in proportion to the problem. I don't see how Natural England are able to be satisfied (BEFORE granting a licence) of the 'small number' without receiving any indication of the number of birds in relation to the scale of the damage.

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  8. "(iv) This licence does not confer any right of entry onto land"

    So the suggestion on Farming Today (accepted by Marion Spain) that landowners should be able to obtain new general licenses to not only kill birds on their land but also go on to other people's land (because birds fly across land boundaries!) does not appear to be correct.

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  9. If this model is to be replicated for other circumstances and species then you are absolutely correct Mark, this will be a massive (and positive) change.

    It seems likely that NE will now be specifying the 'whether' and 'when' birds may be killed rather than hitherto where the shooter made those decisions, universally without challenge.

    I look forward to seeing the jay rather more as it becomes less fearful of man and possibly a little more populous.

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    1. Bimbling - not sure if Spotted Flycatchers and Wood Warblers (for example) will share your enthusiasm for seeing the jay rather more. I look forward to seeing the conservation general licences - will be interesting.

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  10. Paul, I realise the problems with Caper, but in this months British Wildlife, Ron Summers states that
    Carrion / Hooded Crows are controlled at Abernethy as they affect the breeding success of both
    Capercaillie and BlackGrouse.
    That's on top of the thirty percent of Capercaillie nests predated by Pine Marten.

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    1. Sorry Trapit, I had read that but it had not registered. I find it hard to believe, at least for Black Grouse as if you read all the stuff by GWCT on Black Grouse and look very carefully at the error bars there is no significant difference between productivity with and without predator control. It may of course be different for Caper.

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  11. LB. Don't read too much into that. You can't use your licence to go on to other land but If you get permission to go onto the neighbours land then you would be acting under their licence and they would have to show that the various pre conditions apply.

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  12. If it can be shown that jays have a harmful impact on the conservation status of wood warbler and spotted fly and that killing jays in a particular place at a particular time, then the general licence should be available.

    Otherwise its just a repeat of the 'curlew defence', isn't it.

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    1. Bimbling, I fear this is all going to get horribly complicated but we'll see. If everything is hedged around with conditions and restrictions to satisfy the letter of the law, I think in practice it will lead to even more criminal activity in the countryside. Offences will be difficult to prove and the people committing them will think their actions are justified anyway. As we all know, fox hunting still continues despite being banned, presumably because there are various exceptions and other provisions in the legislation which are being exploited. By and large, complicated is not good - unless you're a lawyer.

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