Why Natural England’s bird kill fiasco is far from over

Speaking on Farming Today last Friday, Natural England interim chief executive Marian Spain was adamant that – in the long run – the way in which farmers and other landowners are able to control birds regarded as pests will not change, despite the shock withdrawal of the so-called general licences the night before.

Asked whether there would be any situation where someone might not get a licence to shoot birds, she replied, “I am struggling to envisage that.”

But even a brief analysis of statements put out to date by the government’s wildlife adviser makes it clear that there will be circumstances where a landowner could previously shoot particular birds, and now they won’t be able to – certainly not under the new general licences.

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