Form

Birds: licence to take or kill for health or safety purposes (GL05)

Use this licence to catch alive or kill certain birds; take, damage or destroy their nest, or take or destroy their eggs to preserve public health or safety.

Documents

Licence to kill or take certain birds to preserve public health or public safety (GL05)

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Details

If you’re a land owner, occupier or other authorised person you can use this general licence to carry out a range of otherwise prohibited activities against certain wild birds. You don’t need to apply for this general licence but you must meet its conditions and follow its instructions.

You are an authorised person if you’re one of the following:

  • the land owner, occupier or anyone authorised by the owner or occupier
  • authorised in writing by the local authority
  • authorised in writing by any England, Scotland or Wales conservation body, a district board for fisheries or local fisheries committee
  • authorised in writing by the Environment Agency, a water undertaker or a sewerage undertaker

You can only use this licence to preserve public health or public safety.

You can’t use this licence to kill birds because they are damaging your property, such as your car or house, or if they’re a nuisance.

Birds you can catch alive or kill with this licence

You can take or kill these birds and damage, take or destroy their nests, or take or destroy their eggs:

  • crows
  • collared doves
  • jackdaws
  • jays
  • lesser black-backed gulls
  • magpies
  • pigeons (feral and woodpigeon)
  • rooks
  • Canada geese
  • monk parakeets

You can’t take or kill herring gulls, but you can take, damage or destroy their nests, or take or destroy their eggs.

You must still follow animal welfare laws and kill birds in a quick and humane manner.

You can eat birds killed under this licence, but (other than woodpigeons) you can’t sell them for human consumption.

How you can catch alive or kill wild birds

In addition to other legal methods, this licence lets you use a:

  • semi-automatic weapon
  • cage trap that doesn’t meet the size requirements of the Wildlife and Countryside Act
  • hand-held or hand-propelled net to take birds not in flight

For feral pigeons only, you can also use:

  • a device to illuminate a target
  • sighting devices for night shooting
  • mirrors, lighting or other dazzling devices

If you use a cage trap you can only use the following decoy birds:

  • crows
  • jackdaws
  • magpies
  • monk parakeets
  • ring-necked parakeets
  • rooks
Published 31 December 2013
Last updated 1 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2018
  2. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2017
  3. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2016
  4. terms and conditions updated for clarity
  5. Added updated general licence. New version vaild between 1 January and 31 December 2015.
  6. First published.