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
- lesser black-backed gull
- other wild birds to conserve green-listed species
To request a screening form, email: email@example.com
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.