Natural England Consultation on General & Class Licences

Natural England has today begun a Consultation on General and Class Licences under wildlife legislation in England. The consultation will close at 5pm on Monday 19th May 2014.

Natural England is seeking views on a number of proposals and topics relating to the General and Class Licences issued under wildlife legislation. These licences are periodically reviewed, and Natural England consults with stakeholders and the general public on proposed changes and seeks views on broader topics.

  1. the management of conflict species;
  2. the trapping and welfare of animals;
  3. sale, exhibition and possession of protected species;
  4. improving compliance with the licences;
  5. changes related to obligations under the EU Birds Directive.

This consultation will be of interest to anyone who uses a General or Class Licence, and organisations representing the interests of licence users and/or protected species.

You can respond to the consultation by e-mailing completed response forms to wildlife.consultation@naturalengland.org.uk. Alternatively you can respond in writing to:

Natural England General Licence Consultation
c/o Wildlife Licensing
Natural England
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol BS1 6EB

(NB: There is no need to post hard copies of e-mailed responses and responses received by post will not be acknowledged unless specifically requested.)

Whilst we recognize the importance of periodically reviewing and if necessary updating the licencing schemes of which Natural England has the authority to administer we have some concerns around increasing the administrative burden for those undertaking pest control and the impact certain proposals will have on the successful control of pest species to prevent damage to agriculture. Some of our concerns include, but are not necessary limited to the following;

Introducing a requirement to report on nil returns as part of the air safety Class Licence.

A proposal to introduce a referenced tagging system for traps set under General or Class Licence.

Proposal to include a statement in all General Licences that a person’s right to use a General licence may be rescinded if they breach a condition(s) of a wildlife licence.

Whilst having some concerns as noted above we appreciate that Natural England have taken the time to conduct ‘An Assessment of Regulatory Impact’, see Annex C in contrast to the Scottish Government who failed to conduct such an assessment whilst launching their campaign against airgun owners. In addition we are happy to support numerous of the proposals within the consultation.

We advise all firearms owners to become familiar with the General and Class Licence even in cases where they are not required to carry out lawful shooting related activities such as in target shooting; the current consultation presents an ideal opportunity. Familiarity with the licences allows all shooters to present their views and any evidence in support of reasonable and logical legislation which does not place any unnecessary financial or administrative burden upon those which it impacts. A detailed response on behalf of Firearms UK Association will be published in due course.

Further Reading

Natural England launches General Licences consultation
English general licences consultation – have your say
Natural England Consultation on Pest Bird Licensing Opens

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