Licence 19020225, and its 1,156 friends

A little while ago Bob Berzins wrote two guest blogs here Natural England licences; a cover up? Part 1 and Natural England licences; a cover up? Part 2.

My precis of these two blogs is as follows:

Blog 1: The General Licences for the purpose of nature conservation were withdrawn by Natural England in an announcement on 23 April effective from 25 April 2019 (in response to Wild Justice’s legal challenge being accepted by Natural England several weeks after they received legal advice that their 2019 licences were unlawful). Bob found evidence of crow control taking place on a Peak District grouse moor on 6 June and reported this to the police, who told him that they understood that grouse moors had been issued with specific licences to kill crows so they were ‘covered’. Bob Berzins asked Natural England (on 12 June 2019) what specific licences had been issued to any of six Peak District grouse moors for lethal control and was told (on 10 July) about one specific licence for gull, not corvid, control. Then, in August Bob learned that a corvid control licence (#19020225) had been issued to one of the grouse moors for which he had asked for information. Bob asked Natural England (27 August 2019) why they hadn’t told him about licence 19020225 and got nowhere until in June 2020 (yes, 2020) Natural England sent him licence 19020225.

Blog 2: licence 19020225 was issued on 4 May 2019 (yes, 2019) and allowed the killing of several species of corvid (Carrion Crow, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook and Magpie) in all counties of England. As Bob wrote ‘So Licence 19020225 is in effect a General Licence covering the whole of England.‘.

Blog 2 was published on 18 june 2020 and on that day I asked Natural England how many similar licences they had issued. I received their answer yesterday evening which was after the 20 days in which they should have replied.

So, how many other specific licences did Natural England issue in 2019 which were in effect general licences?

One thousand, one hundred and fifty-six such licences were issued by Natural England. These were all allegedly for conservation purposes. They each allowed an unlimited number of corvids to be killed.

I have asked Natural England how many of these 1156 licences allowed the control of each of the five corvid species (my guess is that 1156 of them will have done – but let’s see). I have also asked Natural England the dates on which these 1156 licences were issued (but my working assumption is that ‘early May’ will be a common answer). I’ve asked them some other stuff too.

Let’s just mull all that over before I come back to it later today.


6 Replies to “Licence 19020225, and its 1,156 friends”

  1. Great stuff Mark, hats off to you and Bob Berzins. The more one finds out about what Natural England actually do the worse and worse it becomes. As I have said my times they have become, in effect, a complete puppet of this Government with there actions shrouded in secrecy as far as they can make them. What a cosy relationship there seems to be between NE and grouse more owners.

  2. If the licences they previously withdrew were illegal and they certainly felt they were not up to face a challenge on legality hence the withdrawal then surely this 2019 issued licences to control corvids were also illegally framed? I’m also sure that Magpies and Jays are pretty scarce birds on the open habitats of grouse moors so cannot be justified on licences for such places and my own view is that Jackdaw and rook cannot be justified on conservation clauses in the GL. Shame on you NE, in this you are an utter bloody shower.

  3. If the likes of NE and SNH are happy with their decision to issue these licences, then why hide it from the public. They need to have a good look at their procedures. Licences should be open to the public and we should not have to apply for FOI’s or EIR’s to get that information. It’s not beyond the wit of man to put in place a licence procedure which allows the public to object, like planning applications. Have a 28 day window which lets us do that. Why all the secrecy? More transparency from both NE and SNH is needed right now.

    1. Dear Beccy

      Are you reading the above? You should.
      To most of the general public, including most of your members, licensing something allows you to have some control over that something. Licensing is seen as a good, compromising middle ground.
      That’s not the case though is it? Well, not in NE case it’s not. They can’t possibly have any control over 1156 licences can they?
      This is why we don’t need to get into another licensing situation with driven grouse shooting.
      Mark and Bob are giving you every reason you could ever need to change your stance on DGS. It doesn’t need licensing. Licensing will not work. It can’t possibly work because there will never be enough NE or DEFRA staff to monitor it.

      Beccy, please use this issue to make a name for yourself. The RSPB must now call for an outright ban on DGS.
      Every time someone mentions licensing to you, point them to the above blog.

  4. That’s far too much common sense Trudi. These people don’t ‘work’ on that level of astuteness. The Conservation organisations in this country are a shambolic corporate mishap of incompetence; all are in desperate need of reform.
    Given the power I would disband both NE and the Forestry Commission now, before they screw up the works for good, but there’s no certainty by replacing that you’ll not end up with the same problems, the people that should be running these organisations are never going to be considered because they are politically incorrect.

  5. Can’t understand why some respindents are dragging SNH and the Forestry Commission into this. Owned completely by NE.

    Does the Forestry Commission actually still exist? Forestry and Land Scotland do some first rate work up here.

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