I was incredibly disappointed at the revocation of the general licences and have made representations to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in this regard. I know the important role these licences play in protecting crops and that this is a particularly crucial time of year for farmers.
On 4 May 2019 the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Natural England agreed that the legal powers relating to these general licences would be exercised by the Secretary of State going forward. This means all decisions relating to the future grant or revocation of these types of general licence for the time being are a matter for the Secretary of State to consider and determine. Natural England retains statutory responsibilities to advise the Secretary of State on these matters.
A consultation has been launched, seeking views from all concerned parties about the impact of the recent withdrawal of the three general licences (GL04, GL05 and GL06). It is vital that those who rely on these general licences take part in the consultation so that we make sure the system is fit for purpose.
You can take part in the consultation at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/use-of-general-licences-for-the-management-of-certain-wild-birds-a-call-for-evidence and it closes at 5pm on Monday 13 May 2019.