Bird licensing for 2024
A reminder to consult 2024 general licences for bird management
This is a reminder, for those involved in professional bird management, to ensure you have the latest copies of general licences before undertaking any lethal control of listed bird species. In fact, it’s not just about having the latest copies, it’s about following the licence requirements fully.
In England, the relevant general licences are available here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/general-licences-for-wildlife-management
The general licences regarding bird management have been reissued for 2024, continuing with the two-year validity rather than the historic lifespan of one year. They are valid from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2025.
The licence most relevant to many pest controllers is the GL41 Wild birds: licence to kill or take for public health or safety. As a land owner, occupier or authorised person, use this general licence to kill or take certain wild birds to preserve public health or safety. Species listed are Canada goose, Branta Canadensis, Feral pigeon Columba livia, Jackdaw Corvus monedula, Monk parakeet Myiopsitta monachus.
Also note the following:
Wild birds: licence to kill or take to prevent serious damage (GL42)
Wild birds: licence to kill or take for conservation purposes (GL40)
2024 bird general licences for Scotland are available https://www.nature.scot/doc/general-licences-birds-2023-2024
They are valid from 1 January to 31st December 2024.
Key licences are:
GL01/2024 – To kill or take certain birds for the conservation of wild birds
GL02/2024 – To kill or take certain birds for the prevention of serious damage
GL03/2024 – To kill or take certain birds for the preservation of public health, public safety and preventing the spread of disease
Welsh general licences update
Natural Resources Wales (NRW), published in December 2023 new general licences for the control of wild birds for the 2024 calendar year.
Following consultation with stakeholder bodies, NRW made some changes to the general licences allowing lethal control for 2024.
In particular, BoCC Wales 2022 highlighted a 25-year decline in magpie populations in Wales, placing them on the Amber list. As a species of conservation concern, magpie are therefore not included as a target species on General Licence GL001 for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock or foodstuffs for livestock.
Other changes for 2024 are:
- A recently notified SSSI, Scoveston Fort, is added to the list of SSSIs where the relevant general licences do not apply
- Cormorant, red kite, reed bunting and song thrush are no longer included as beneficiary species of GL004 (which allows the control of carrion crow for the purpose of conserving other wild bird species) Chaffinch, dunnock, garden warbler, Mediterranean gull and rook are added as beneficiary species of GL004.
Key licences, valid from 1st January 2024 to 31st December 2024 are:
GL002 – Preservation of public health
This general licence is for the purpose of preserving public health and preventing the spread of disease.
It authorises the killing or taking of feral pigeon. This includes damaging or destroying their nests and taking or destroying their eggs. It also authorises the use of any device (inside a building) for illuminating a target or any sighting device for night shooting; the use of any form of artificial lighting or any mirror or other dazzling device; or of any handheld or hand propelled net (inside a building) to take birds whilst not in flight.
GL001 – Prevention of serious damage to crops and livestock
This general licence is for the purpose of preventing serious damage or spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit.
It authorises the killing or taking of Canada goose, carrion crow, jackdaw, feral pigeon and wood pigeon. This includes damaging or destroying their nests and taking or destroying their eggs. It also authorises the use of carrion crow and jackdaw as decoys in cage traps.
Licences are available for 2024.
Kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their eggs, or the disturbance of such a bird or the young of such a bird for the purpose of preserving public health or public safety
Kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their eggs, or the disturbance of such a bird or the young of such a bird for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease and preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber and fisheries
Kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their eggs, or the disturbance of such a bird or the young of such a bird for the purpose of conserving wild birds
Republic of Ireland
The ‘Wild Bird Declaration’ has been published in Ireland, for 2024 bird control.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government & Heritage has signed the State-wide Declaration to allow the control of certain wild bird species that are causing damage to crops, livestock and fauna or in the interests of public health and safety. The Declaration is effective from 1 January 2024 until 31 December 2024. Details are available here:
Killgerm’s bird control specialist, Alastair Fernie, is available for technical support, mentoring and training regarding bird control. Alastair can be contacted on 07703 714 752 and email@example.com