Scottish Land & Estates has responded to the consultation by Scottish Natural Heritage on General Licences to control birds. Proposals to make General Licences more effective and easier to understand have been welcomed and the results of the review are expected to be published in early December.
General Licences enable people to control birds for certain purposes, and are important for effective management of corvids, pigeons and gulls in particular. They were traditionally updated each year but in 2016, SNH has undertaken a 12 week consultation to put in place a more streamlined system and to deal with some previous anomalies. To inform this review, a year-long research project was carried out looking at use of cages and traps http://www.snh.gov.uk/publications-data-and-research/publications/search-the-catalogue/publication-detail/?id=2436
The main proposals in the consultation were welcomed:
· Make General Licences easier to understand and use, and raise awareness of them among both the public and practitioners.
· Update the list of species which can be controlled under General Licences
· Consider more novel or adaptive approaches to licensing, including collaborative licences in particular areas, for instance for Greylag geese or Ravens where they are causing serious damage. Scottish Land & Estates has supported this idea as it builds on the ground breaking “Understanding Predation” research in 2015/16
· Develop codes of practice for use of traps and for registration of trap operators to be managed by SNH