Robins have breathed a sigh of relief that new Natural England licencing proposals will not allow a fast track to their extermination should they cause a problem in supermarkets and garden centres over the Christmas period.
Earlier this year, Natural England consulted the public on a controversial proposal as to whether robin, pied wagtail and starling should be added to a “General Licence”, which anyone could use without registering, to enable “quick action” where the birds caused genuine health and safety problems. However : “The Board determined that question 2b) should not be pursued further”
Natural England will also be issuing a new Class Licence for barn owl surveys where development is involved.
Other General and Class Licences, including GL04 “To kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage or disease” [ which deals with pigeons, rooks etc ], will have minor wording updates for consistency in phrasing and better readability, so may differ in look from last year. They are available from 1 January 2015 and more information is available : General Licences with changes . Grey squirrel remain illegal to release back into the wild if caught.
There are in general, no changes to the conditions attached to licences. However I note that rather bizarrely though that if you accidentally capture any Capercaillie, Common crane or White-tailed eagle whilst attempting to remove the robin from the frozen food section, these “must be released immediately upon discovery”. I should say so – walk away from any such tussle.