Countryside Groups Hail Licence Move

Six general licences for the control of wild birds are being reissued on a temporary basis – in a move described by BASC as being both “sensible and workable” for shooting and conservation.

The general licences had been due to expire on 31 July, but Defra is now reissuing the temporary ones before publishing new licences in November that will come into force on 1 January next year.

The decision was hailed by several countryside organisations including the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the Countryside Alliance, the Moorland Association and the National Gamekeepers Organisation.

Glynn Evans, BASC’s head of game and gundogs, said: “While BASC continues to call for a fit for purpose and future-proofed licensing structure as soon as possible, this announcement … will reassure our members that Defra is taking the task seriously and will provide a degree of certainty for the rest of this year.

“It is essential that Defra is given the time and resources to appropriately assess and consider the future of our general licences.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice explained: “It is vital that we have a robust long-term licensing system which balances the needs of users and our wildlife.

“Our general licensing review has made significant progress, however more time is needed to ensure that we have carefully considered all of the relevant evidence, and to fully develop a general licensing solution for our protected sites.

“Our extensive consultation and review process will be completed in the coming months, with the new licences coming into force on 1 January 2021.”

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