Letter to Natural England on General Licence

Letter to Natural England.

Thank you for your email, I’m sorry but this is not satisfactory.

I had the reply for Natural England. They have edited the sub-section the licence is issued under for (i) to (k) which is now correct. However it has not cleared up the problem with the working of the methods that can be used.

All they have done is added two paragraphs (i and ii) which dates back to the 2006 licence. I attached PDF of 9 years of licence and you will see that they have been issuing the licence under the wrong sub-section of the Act for the last 9 years.

So all shooters in England who carrying out pest control on farms have been doing it illegally for the last 9 years because the licence was issued under the wrong sub-section.

The licence is issued under section 16 of the W & C Act 1981. It states that the birds should be listed and “shell specify the methods”.

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

16 (5A)A licence under subsection (1) which authorises any action in respect of wild birds—

(a)shall specify the species of wild birds in respect of which, the circumstances in which, and the conditions subject to which, the action may be taken;

(b)shall specify the methods, means or arrangements which are authorised or required for the taking of the action; and

(c)subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.]

So the methods to be used should be on the licence. The problem is it only allows semi automatic weapons. The definition is clear only for a semi automatic with more then 2 round in the magazine. This is a shotgun with more then 2 cartridges in the magazine and would be on a Firearms certificate.

“Semi-automatic weapon” means any weapon which is not prohibited by section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended) and which has a magazine capable of holding more than two rounds of ammunition, where the depression of the trigger discharges a single shot and reloads the next, each subsequent shot requiring a further depression of the trigger.

So where does that leave us with a semi automatic shotgun that is on shotgun certificate with only 2 cartridges in the magazine?

They say that the use of a normal shotgun or air gun is not prohibited therefore it is allowed. How can this be, as the methods that can be used have to be on the licence?

The Scottish and Welish licences have make it clear that shotguns and air guns are cover by the licence, so why not the English licence?

What we have is two forms of law, English common law and European law.

The pest birds list on the wildlife and countryside act where removed by order of an EU wild bird directive and to allow us to carry out pest control on pigeon and crows ect they brought in the general licence.

The General Licence has to have the birds that can be killed and the methods that can be used written on the licence.

Using the two methods of law we have two possible outcomes.

Under the English common law is it is not prohibited then it is allowed.

Under European law if it is not allowed it is prohibited.

The wildlife and countryside act was written under English common law and they placed exception so pest control could still be carried out. They added Pigeon and Corws ect to the list of birds that could be taken or killed at any time, schedule 1 part 2.

The EU wild bird directive made the UK government remove all the birds on that list as they now all had to be protected.

So we how have two rules of laws that govern us.

By English common law, shotguns and air gun do not need to be on the list of methods allowed as they are not prohibited.

Where on the other hand under EU rules because they are not on the list of methods that are allowed, they are prohibited.

I think that explain my position.

I would like the wording on the general licence made clear.

Ian Summerell

Gunmaker

English General Licence.

Subject to all the terms and conditions of this licence and solely for the purpose(s) stated above, this licence permits Authorised Persons:

  1. to kill or take any of the wild birds listed at (a) and (b) below, to take, damage or destroy their nests or to take or destroy their eggs:

(a) Crow Corvus corone

Dove, Collared Streptopelia decaocto

Gull, Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Jay Garrulus glandarius

Magpie Pica pica

Pigeon, Feral Columba livia

Rook Corvus frugilegus

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus

(b) Goose, Canada Branta canadensis

Parakeet, Monk Myiopsitta monachus

Parakeet, Ring-necked Psittacula krameri

Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiacus

  1. and when acting under ‘i’ above to use any of the following methods prohibited by Section 5 of the 1981 Act:

(a) a semi-automatic weapon;

Definitions used in this licence:

Semi-automatic weapon” means any weapon which is not prohibited by section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended) and which has a magazine capable of holding more than two rounds of ammunition, where the depression of the trigger discharges a single shot and reloads the next, each subsequent shot requiring a further depression of the trigger.

Welish general lience:

  1. Subject to the terms and conditions below, and solely for the purposes set out in paragraph (1)

above, this licence permits:

(i) any authorised person (see definitions) to kill or take any of the wild birds listed in this

subparagraph:

Crow, Carrion Corvus corone

Dove, Collared Streptopelia decaocto

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Jay Garrulus glandarius

Magpie Pica pica

Pigeon, Feral Columba livia

Rook Corvus frugilegus

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus

Goose, Canada Branta canadensis

by shooting or by use of cage trap or net or by any other method not prohibited by Section 5 of

the Act ; or to take, damage or destroy their nests; or to take or destroy their eggs, subject to

the conditions specified below.

(ii) the use of a semi-automatic weapon by authorised persons acting under subparagraph

(2)(i)above;

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