Wednesday 17 July 2019


The General Licence challenge in England caused widespread chaos for land managers.
SNH today announced details of its General Licence consultation. Please see the full SNH press release, below, along with the survey link to fill in. As you will know, the General Licences are critical to most members' operations, and it is vital these are retained as practical, workable tools.
The SGA urges all members who use General Licences to respond to this consultation, particularly following the disastrous situation in England which left land businesses struggling to protect stock, crops and wildlife at a critical time. There is still a widespread sense of dissatisfaction with new licences in England and it is important that we get this right in Scotland. Please see details, below.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has announced it will launch a 12-week consultation about wild birds today (July 17th)
The consultation covers circumstances when wild birds can be controlled under General Licence. All wild birds are protected by law. But in some circumstances, SNH allows wild birds to be controlled – for example, to prevent serious damage to crops, protect public health, and ensure air safety when flocks of birds are liable to get in flight paths. 
Robbie Kernahan, SNH’s Head of Wildlife Management, said:
“Our role is to help wild birds thrive, but we must balance this with making sure the public is safe from health and safety risks, as well as ensuring that farmers can protect their crops.
“We have brought forward our planned consultation in light of the ongoing legal challenges in England. We want to ensure that our licences take into account the implications of those challenges and remain clear, proportionate and fit-for-purpose.
“The consultation, along with our ongoing work, will provide us with valuable feedback - this will allow us to consider if we need to make changes to the current set of licenses for 2020.”

General Licences cover relatively common situations – such as preventing agricultural damage and protecting public health and safety – when there’s unlikely to be any conservation impact on a species. They avoid the need for people to apply for individual licences for these specific situations. General Licences must strike the appropriate balance between species conservation and a range of other legitimate interests.
SNH is looking for feedback specifically on the three most commonly used General Licences: those covering conserving wild birds, preventing damage to agricultural interests, and protecting public health and safety.
Robbie added:
“We would like to reassure those who are currently operating under the current 2019 General Licences in Scotland that these remain in place, allowing those who comply with the conditions to continue to use them.”
The consultation documents are available at