Apologies if this has been covered already.
Rather than explain it all myself I think I'll paste some text that the Countryside Alliance has put up on their Facebook page, regarding a consultation on the general licence and some worrying potential changes that could be made to the specifics of it.
Here it is....
Do official proposals threaten a crisis for the control of pest birds in England?
As Political Adviser to the NGO, I have been going through the lengthy consultation document issued by Natural England (NE) on 24 February on the future of the General Licences. These are the regulations under which gamekeepers and others control pest birds such as woodpigeons, crows, rooks and magpies. The suggestions make alarming reading.
If you are a gamekeeper, a farmer, a pest controller, a pigeon shooter, a wildfowler or indeed anyone with an interest in the good management of the countryside, I strongly recommend that you read NE's consultation and send in your views to them by 19th May.
Here are some of the reasons why you need to get involved:
Under NE's draft Bird Trapping Code, you would not be allowed to set a bird trap of any type on public Access Land (ie most of the English uplands) or "where livestock could get access". See paragraph 2 of http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Ima...tcm6-37397.pdf
NE is proposing that no-one should be allowed to shoot or trap woodpigeons, crows or other pest birds unless they themselves had first taken "reasonable and appropriate steps to resolve the problem, such as scaring and proofing". See section 31 ofhttp://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Ima...tcm6-37389.pdf
NE thinks that the hooded crow, the jackdaw, the jay & the collard dove should come off the General Licences for England. See section 1 & 4 ofhttp://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/cl-consultation-document_tcm6-37389.pdf
NE are suggesting that individuals should have to report to them whenever they trap or shoot pest birds in an SSSI, SPA or SAC. See section 30 of http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/cl-consultation-document_tcm6-37389.pdf
They ask if there should be a limit on the time that decoys can be kept, including a prohibition on keeping them in aviaries through the winter. See section 8 ofhttp://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/cl-consultation-document_tcm6-37389.pdf
NE are asking whether you think you should you have to register with the police before using Larsen traps or crow cages, which would all have to be numbered. See section 9 ofhttp://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Ima...tcm6-37389.pdf
And so it goes on. Suffice to say that if these proposals go ahead, they would massively affect the actions of gamekeepers, pest controllers, shooters and farmers.
The NGO will be sending in a detailed, point by point response to NE's consultation in due course and I urge you to do the same.