Defra has launched a call for evidence on the impact of Natural England’s decision to revoke three general licences for the management of certain wild birds. CPM reports.

The call for evidence follows an exchange of letters between the chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, and environment secretary, Michael Gove, which saw Defra take over control of the whole process.

Mr Gove said that he considers it appropriate to take over ultimate decision-making powers for general licences, recognising the scale of interest and concern generated by the recent decision to revoke licences to control birds like pigeons and corvids, and because of the intensity and urgency of the present situation.

In response, Defra has initiated a formal evidence gathering exercise in order to capture information from all concerned parties about the impact that the withdrawal of the three general licences (GL04, GL05 & GL06) on 25 April has had.

In particular, the department want to gain a clear understanding of the implications for the protection of wild birds, and the impacts on crops, livestock, wildlife, disease, human health and safety and wider nature conservation efforts.

Decisions and approach

The evidence gathered from that exercise, alongside the information that Defra and Natural England have already received since 25 April will inform Mr Gove’s approach to getting back to a satisfactory situation.

The closing date for providing views and evidence is Monday 13 May. The Secretary of State then intends to take a further week to consider the evidence gathered and make a decision.

A separate review of general licences will take place later in the year and there will be a further opportunity to submit evidence and views at that point.

Anyone is entitled to respond to the call for evidence and can do so by emailing or by writing to General Licence Evidence, Wildlife, 1st floor, Seacole, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF.