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23rd April 2019

The Moorland Association issued the following statement today in response to the announcement by Natural England that it is revoking three general licences for controlling certain predatory birds as of Thursday 25th April 2019.

General licences permit land managers to control common birds in order to conserve a range of threatened ground nesting bird populations. General Licences GL04 (for the prevention of serious damage to crops and livestock), GL05 (for prevention of disease and ensuring public safety) and GL06 (for conservation purposes), will all cease to exist on Thursday.

The use of Larsen traps, crow cages and the control of sixteen pest bird species such as crows, rooks, magpies, and wood pigeons will all become illegal.

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “We are dismayed by this action by Natural England and the consequences will devastate the endangered bird populations that we are all committed to preserving.

This is a crucial time of year for all ground nesting birds to ensure populations survive for another generation. As of Thursday, land managers will no longer be permitted to use the methods that have historically proved very effective at safeguarding ground nesting bird populations and boosting fledging rates.

We question the rationale for unilaterally removing the licences now in the nesting season when there is a planned review of licensing due to take place later this year. The curlew, lapwing and black grouse will be extinct by the time this mess is sorted.

We believe this decision is a grave error of judgment by Natural England. We and other countryside organisations have sought a meeting with Natural England and relevant government ministers at the earliest opportunity to question this decision.


Did You Know?

75% of of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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