We know that last year Natural England was shovelling licences out of the building authorising all and sundry to kill unlimited numbers of any of the species formerly listed on the general licences anywhere in the UK (see earlier blog today and links therein).
Is this because the applications described in detail and clearly the conservation problem that they were designed to solve?
Well, I posted one of the applications on Friday afternoon as a particularly poor example, and here it is again;
‘red listed birds, crops and trees’? This is allegedly a conservation licence so it is nothing to do with crops. Nor, is it at all likely to be anything to do with endangered species of tree.
‘the carrying spect eat chicks eggs and crops’ – eh? Is that it? Those words entitle you to have a licence allowing the unlimited killing of a whole range of species?
Here’s another example from Co Durham;
An interesting list of breeding species. Jack Snipe with eggs? That’s a first not just for Durham but for the UK. Scaup? Wow! And Goldeneye too! Did Natural England question any of this? Did they say ‘You’re taking the Mickey!’? It appears not as this licence was given.
Let us visit Cornwall where this application for a conservation licence was approved;
No indication of which species of ground nesting birds are involved, if any, but some (not totally convincing) information about crops. All you had to do last year to get a conservation licence from Natural England to kill an unlimited number of Carrion Crows anywhere in England was to write ‘distroying ground nests with eggs’.
Here’s a further example from Co. Durham;
Looks like a pretty good grouse moor to me. Which species does this applicant want to kill because of their vicious observed predation of ground nesting birds which the applicant has tried all non-lethal methods already and is only now, in desperation, reduced, as a last resort, to applying for a licence to kill? Let’s see;
Ah yes! The famous and well-documented (not!) nest predators of moorland birds, the Jay (a woodland bird), the Feral Pigeon and the Canada Goose. But thsi was good enough for our nature conservation regulator, Natural England!
In Dorset we see an application like this;
And the species responsible are?;
Ah yes, the Feral Pigeon the well-known predator of Hares, songbirds and gamebirds. The Rook?
This is a joke – a sick joke.
There is hardly an application that I have seen that wouldn’t make any birdwatcher snort with derision or at least raise an eyebrow. The justification for a killing licence, which has to be a last resort for a proven problem, is wafer thin.
Natural England is supposed to be evidence-led and on the side of nature. In fact, it is completely wrecked and out of control. More on this tomorrow when I’ve calmed down a bit. I am angry that my taxes are being wasted on an utterly hopeless regulator and that wildlife has no friend in Natural England. Natural England simply was not doing its job properly in spring 2019.