‘Back off’: ministers told Natural England to drop review of bird kill licences in 2014, MPs hear

A 2014 review of general bird kill licences was dropped after DEFRA ministers put pressure on Natural England to “back off”, according to the deputy chair of Natural England.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee yesterday, Lord Blencathra - who was not at Natural England at the time in question - said he had discovered in the regulator’s board meeting minutes an admission that ministerial pressure blocked any changes to the general licensing system that might have arisen from its consultation.

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