The general licences have been in use for many years, and in response to matters raised by stakeholders, it is recognised that review is appropriate. This consultation will give you the opportunity to give your views and any additional evidence you have around the following aspects of the 3 general licences:-
- Species included
- Alternative methods of control
- Their use on protected sites
- Licence conditions
The responses and evidence provided from this consultation will be considered alongside population statistics and conservation status of the listed species and all other relevant issues in order to shape the general licences going forward.
All wild birds in Northern Ireland are protected under the terms of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, however in certain circumstances, some species can cause problems for landowners. As the statutory wildlife licensing authority in Northern Ireland, DAERA/NIEA can issue licenses to permit control of birds for defined reasons. Licenses can be issued on an individual basis, or alternatively, as ‘general’ licenses which permit authorized persons to control listed species for specific reasons without the need to apply for an individual license on each occasion. There are currently 3 general bird licences issued annually in Northern Ireland, and you can find links and details to each general licence below.
General Licence TPG1. Kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their eggs, or the disturbance of such a bird or the young of such a bird for the purpose of preserving public health or public safety https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/tpg1-general-licence-kill-or-take-certain-birds
General Licence TPG2. Kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their eggs, or the disturbance of such a bird or the young of such a bird for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease and preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, timber and fisheries https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/tpg2general-licence-kill-or-take-certain-birds
General Licence TPG3. Kill or take certain birds, including the taking, damaging or destruction of their eggs, or the disturbance of such a bird or the young of such a bird for the purpose of conserving wild birds https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/tpg3-general-licence-kill-or-take-certain-birds
While this consultation is being finalised, DAERA have issued amended, interim licences. Several bird species have been removed from either all or some of the three general licences, either on initial assessment of changes to conservation status or in terms of their applicability to the purpose of the licence.
When published it was made clear that these interim licences were issued without prejudice to what licences may be issued thereafter, following consultation and consideration of all relevant issues by the Department.
The intention of the interim licences was to provide a degree of certainty for users and other stakeholders while active consideration is on-going.
N.B - It should be noted that consideration can still be given to individual licence applications in circumstances where a species has been removed from a general licence.
This consultation makes reference to ‘protected sites’, which are those sites deemed to be of highest nature conservation value in Northern Ireland. Most have been designated as Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) on account of their species, habitat and/ or earth science features. Sites of European significance have been declared as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for habitats and species, or as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds. In addition to ASSIs, SACs and SPAs, Ramsar (wetland) sites are also included as ‘protected sites’. Further information can be accessed on the following link:-