Gove removes Natural England’s bird kill licensing powers

Environment secretary Michael Gove has removed Natural England’s powers to issue general bird kill licences and has taken on the function himself, following a request from the regulator’s new chair Tony Juniper.

Natural England has been at the centre of controversy since it revoked three general bird kill licences in a bid to avoid legal action from naturalist Chris Packham’s new outfit, Wild Justice, which claimed the licences were unlawful.

The regulator began work on replacing the licences but came under fire from landowning, farming and shooting communities, which said the replacement licences were “hurried, botched and completely unfit for purpose”.

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