The government has launched a new public survey and review to gather opinion on current general licences to control wild birds.

The aim of the review is to strike the right balance between the protection of wild birds and the activities of people such as landowners and farmers.

Defra, in partnership with Natural England, has launched a 12-week online survey to gather evidence on the control that stakeholders consider is required under general licence.

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers said the survey is an 'important step' in the wider review of general licences.

She said: “I completely understand the scale of interest in this important issue and the real concern of users who need to have confidence in the licensing system.

"I want to encourage users and other interested parties to take part in the process.

sparrows on hedge

“This will help us ensure our licences strike the right balance between the protection of wild birds and the important actions users need to take to protect livestock or crops, and for conservation purposes.”

The survey will focus on the purposes covered by these three licences. All information submitted will be considered alongside evidence received during a shorter call for evidence held in spring which highlighted some areas where evidence is currently lacking.

In parallel with the survey, Defra and Natural England will be conducting a series of workshops with interested groups in the autumn, covering particular topics such as activity on protected sites.

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