What they are saying about the General Licences
Woodpigeons and crows can no longer be legally killed in England – The Guardian Wild Justice’s Mark Avery quoted ‘It’s not every day that three part-time conservationists overturn decades of unlawful bird-killing‘.
BASC website – Peter Glenser BASC Chair ‘Natural England’s decision to withdraw the open general licences will cause chaos and uncertainty in the rural community. To take such a step without consultation and proper notice is utterly unacceptable from a statutory body and leaves many people at risk of breaking the law at a crucial time of the year when their need to control pests could not be more pressing.‘.
Countryside Alliance website – Tim Bonner Countryside Alliance Chief Executive ‘Whatever Natural England’s legal advice, the withdrawal of Open General Licences at incredibly short notice is completely impractical and irresponsible, and will result in thousands of people unknowingly breaking the law. … To withdraw the historic ability to manage these species without individual licences at 36 hours notice is a recipe for disaster. Many of those involved in pest control will be unaware of the changes, and this decision will only serve to bring the law into disrepute.The decision to bring in a new set of licences without consulting stakeholders or the public is even more bizarre.’.
NFU website – Guy Smith, NFU Deputy President ‘The NFU has significant concerns about the abrupt withdrawal of these general licenses. They are absolutely necessary at this time of year when crops are particularly vulnerable to pests. For example, a flock of pigeons could decimate a farmer’s field of crops.‘.
Farmers Weekly – quotes Tenant Farmers Association Chief Exec George Dunn saying it was unacceptable that ‘such precipitous action should be taken without proper consultation, risk assessment and due regard to the businesses that will be affected‘.
So, quite a lot of criticism of Natural England and the way they have handled it. I certainly have some sympathy with that.
Tomorrow, judging from the people to whom we have spoken, you may well hear more about this subject on Farming Today and Today and you may read about it in The Daily Telegraph.
See earlier blogs on this subject today: