Form

Wild birds: licence to kill, take or disturb to prevent disease or agricultural damage, for conservation, or public health and safety (A08 and A09)

Apply to control wild birds, including the lesser black-backed gull and herring gull to prevent disease or agricultural damage, conserve plants and animals or protect public health and safety.

Documents

Application form for licence A08

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Extension form to A08 section 8: additional licensable actions

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Integrated Management Plan template (A47a)

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Report form for actions under this licence (LR08)

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Details

To apply for a licence to control wild birds for conservation or health and safety purposes that are no longer covered by a general licence, you need to submit a screening form.

You can apply for a licence if you need to control wild birds to:

  • prevent disease or serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters
  • conserve plants and animals
  • protect public health and safety

Criteria you must meet to get a licence

Natural England will only issue you with a licence if you can show that:

  • actual damage or a problem is occurring – and the target species is causing it
  • you have tried non-lethal solutions or you can show that they would not be effective or practical
  • there are no suitable alternative methods of control
  • action you take under the licence will contribute to preventing damage or resolving the problem
  • action you take under the licence will not negatively affect the conservation status of the wild bird

If your application does not meet all these criteria, Natural England will reject your application.

Using the licence

You can use this licence to control wild birds, their nests and eggs by:

  • disturbing them
  • killing them
  • taking them
  • using a prohibited method of control on them

If you use a trap or decoy bird, you must follow the standard licence conditions in WML-GL33.

Before you apply

Before you apply for a licence, check if your circumstances are covered by one of Defra’s general licences for birds. The general licences do not cover the lesser black-backed gull or herring gull because of their poor conservation status.

You may be able to control wild birds using alternative non-lethal measures. Read about the legal methods you can use to deter certain wild birds without a licence (GU01).

Culling gulls at an airfield

If you intend to cull gulls at an airfield, check if the air safety class licence CL12 covers your circumstances.

Control wild birds for conservation or health and safety: submit a screening form

For a licence to control wild birds for conservation or health and safety purposes that are no longer covered by a general licence, you need to complete a screening form. These birds are:

  • herring gull
  • jackdaws
  • jays
  • lesser black-backed gull
  • rooks
  • other wild birds to conserve green-listed species

To request a screening form, email: bird.licensing@naturalengland.org.uk

Natural England will reply within 10 working days of receiving your completed screening form. Based on your screening answers, it will tell you whether it is likely to grant you a licence. The response will include a screening reference number and A09 application form.

You will need to include your screening reference number on your A09 application for controlling wild birds for conservation or health and safety.

Control wild birds to prevent disease or serious damage: apply for a licence using form A08

You do not need to complete a screening form before you apply for a licence to control wild birds to prevent disease or serious damage.

To apply for a licence to control wild birds to prevent disease or serious damage, fill in:

  • form A08 – available on this page
  • section 8 extension form – if you have to apply for additional licensable actions

Send your forms to Natural England using the details on the application forms.

This licence is free.

Natural England aims to respond within 30 working days of accepting your application, but the decision can take longer at peak times. Natural England will contact you if it expects to take longer.

You must not start lethal control, or hire a contractor for lethal control, before Natural England has granted your licence.

Report your actions

You must report any actions you take using this licence. Use the report form template LR08 on this page.

You must report within 2 weeks of your licence expiring, even if you’ve taken no action.

Send your completed form to Natural England using the details on the form.

Renew your licence

You can use the report form to renew your licence.

Published 28 February 2014
Last updated 18 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. We have updated the guidance on this page. Natural England will only issue you with an A08 licence if you meet all of the criteria. For a licence to control wild birds for conservation or health and safety purposes that are no longer covered by a general licence, you need to complete a screening form before you submit an A08 application.

  2. An update on Natural England granting a limited number licences for the control of 2 species of gull and wild birds on protected sites.

  3. Replaced form A08, due to a file corruption.

  4. Change of email address.

  5. You can now apply to use this licence to control the lesser black-backed gull and herring gull to prevent damage and disease or a risk to public health and safety.

  6. Added link to licence that replaces withdrawn licences GL04, GL05 and GL06.

  7. Replaced licence application form with revised version.

  8. Added revised version of application form and return form.

  9. First published.