The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is seeking urgent legal advice following the decision by Natural England (NE) to revoke three general licences in England for controlling certain wild birds from today (Thursday, April 25th).
Like other rural organisations, BASC was only told about NE's decision in a press release issued at 3:30 pm last Tuesday (April 23rd).
The press release from NE stated: “These licences (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose and some gulls and pigeons”.
BASC has issued the following further statement: “BASC is appalled that Natural England has sprung this on the rural community without notice and without consultation at a critical stage in the farming and countryside management calendar.”
BASC maintain that despite their memorandum of understanding with Natural England, none of their meetings or communications with Natural England has had any discussion of a decision to remove the general licences.
A spokesperson for BASC said: “It is simply not acceptable to remove a key management tool for the countryside at such a critical time of the year. Quite rightly, the shooting and rural community is in uproar.”
BASC has already begun taking legal advice and they hope to be in a position to make a further announcement tomorrow.
“Natural England’s decision to withdraw the open general licences will cause chaos and uncertainty in the rural community”, the BASC spokesperson said.
“To take such a step without consultation and proper notice is utterly unacceptable from a statutory body and leaves many people at risk of breaking the law at a crucial time of the year when their need to control pests could not be more pressing,” they concluded.