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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 do not 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:
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
When you can use this licence
You can only use this licence to prevent serious damage to:
foodstuffs for livestock
crops, vegetables and fruit
fisheries or inland waters
You can also use it to stop the spread of disease.
You cannot 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
With this licence you can catch alive or kill, as well as take, damage or destroy the nests, or take or destroy the eggs:
lesser black-backed gulls
pigeons (feral and woodpigeon)
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 you cannot sell any for human consumption other than woodpigeons.
How you can catch alive or kill wild birds
In addition to other legal methods, this licence lets you use a:
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: