General licences for wildlife management
Use a general licence for activities that carry a low risk to the conservation or welfare of a protected species.
If you plan to act under the authority of a general licence, you must:
- be eligible to do so (see conditions of each licence)
- comply with the terms of the relevant licence and therefore the law
You should use a class licence for activities that need a specific skill or experience to avoid risk to the conservation or welfare of a protected species.
If a general licence or class licence does not cover your circumstance, you should apply for an individual licence. For more information on the licences available, see Wildlife licences: when you need to apply.
- Birds: licence to keep them in show cages for training (GL16)
- Black-headed gulls: licence for retailers and restaurateurs to sell eggs (GL23)
- Mallard ducks: licence to take eggs and rear and release chicks (GL13)
- Mealy redpoll: licence to sell and exhibit ringed mealy redpoll (GL15)
- Ruddy ducks: licence to kill or take them (GL21)
- Wild birds: licence for vets to rehabilitate certain species (GL08)
- Wild birds: licence to keep certain species for rehabilitation (GL07)
- Wild birds: licence to rear chicks of certain captive-bred species (GL11)
- Wild birds: licence to remove abandoned or unsuccessful eggs (GL12)
- Wild birds: licence to sell captive bred, live wild birds (GL18)
- Wild birds: licence to sell dead wild birds (GL17)
- Wild birds: licence to show captive bred birds competitively (GL14)
- Wild birds: licence to kill or take for conservation purposes (GL40)
- Wild birds: licence to kill or take for public health or safety (GL41)
- Wild birds: licence to kill or take to prevent serious damage (GL42)
- Bats: licence to take and possess live bats for rabies testing (GL25)
- Bats: licence to transport and possess dead bats for rabies testing (GL03)
- Red squirrels and pine martens: licence to sell dead specimens (GL20)
- Shrews: licence to trap them (GL01)
- Stoats: licence to trap them to conserve wild birds (GL38)
- Stoats: licence to trap them to prevent serious damage to livestock (GL39)
Last updated 12 May 2021 + show all updates
Added GL43: licence to release common pheasants or red-legged partridges on European sites and within 500m of their boundary.
Removed general licences that expired on 31 December 2020: GL34, GL35, GL36. Replaced with GL40, GL41, GL42 for the control of wild birds.
We've added 2 new licences for trapping stoats: GL38 and GL39.
Defra issues updated versions of GLs 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 36, valid from 1 March 2020.
New Defra general licences for wild birds, GL34, GL35 and GL36 added.
Updated to include general licence (GL26) for carrion crows.
Added 'Wild birds: licence to control certain species'. Removed licences GL04, GL05 and GL06.
Notice that GL04, GL05 and GL06 will be revoked on 25 April.
Page updated for new licences issued 1 January 2016.