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.




Published 1 January 2015
Last updated 12 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added GL43: licence to release common pheasants or red-legged partridges on European sites and within 500m of their boundary.

  2. Removed general licences that expired on 31 December 2020: GL34, GL35, GL36. Replaced with GL40, GL41, GL42 for the control of wild birds.

  3. We've added 2 new licences for trapping stoats: GL38 and GL39.

  4. Defra issues updated versions of GLs 26, 28, 31, 34, 35, 36, valid from 1 March 2020.

  5. New Defra general licences for wild birds, GL34, GL35 and GL36 added.

  6. Updated to include general licence (GL26) for carrion crows.

  7. Added 'Wild birds: licence to control certain species'. Removed licences GL04, GL05 and GL06.

  8. Notice that GL04, GL05 and GL06 will be revoked on 25 April.

  9. Page updated for new licences issued 1 January 2016.

  10. First published.