Posted - 23 Aug 2009 : 10:09:29
| GENERAL LICENSING SYSTEM - ARE YOU BREAKING THE LAW!
PLEASE READ THIS NEXT ITEM IF YOU CARRY OUT GULL CONTROL IN SCOTLAND. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO ALL PEST CONTROLLERS
I hope anyone who carries out any form of avian bird control has familiarised themselves with the General Licensing System, as under the terms and conditions of the Licences, to carry out ANY work with General Licence Species without knowing under which licence you operate and why, constitutes an offence with possible severe penalties.
In addition, in Scotland, Herring Gulls (Larus Argentatus) are now on the RED LIST of endangered species and not the previous Amber list. In Scotland you MUST provide for returns of egg pricking, egg oiling and direct culling with dates and numbers of this species to the Scottish Executive at the end of the year to comply with the Licence terms. Moreover, without all the figures from those using these licences, the true picture of gull control cannot be accurately assessed. If you think this is not really an important issue, think again!
We are compoundinfg the problem by not sending our returns in at the end of ther year, look at this...
The Scottish Government received the following returns for General Licences last year (2008)
Scottish Government General Licence Number 2 2008 - Licence to kill or take certain birds for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables and fruit -3 returns.
Scottish Government General Licence number 3 2008 - Licence to protect public health, public safety and prevent the spread of disease- 6 returns
Scottish Government General Licence number 4 2008 - Licence to protect air safety- 15 returns.
To put this bluntly, there were more returns received from airbases and airports in Scotland than from all local Authorities, private pest control companies and other organizations in Scotland put together! Combined we never even made double figures. This is a false picture, but it is of our making, and what the Scottish Government use to assess the true picture of control under the licence terms.
General licences exist to address licensing situations that arise very frequently. If a very low return rate for Herring Gulls continues, the Scottish Government may conclude that few general licences to control Herring Gulls are being used. As such, the Government may consider that it is appropriate to review the listing of that species on general licences. Should the species be removed from General Licences, individual licences to control the species would have to be submitted to the Scottish Government and each application would be considered on its own merit. General licence species fall into 3 groups as far as conservation is concerned;Green listing - of no conservation concern, and may be culled under licence terms by authorised persons at any time. Amber listing whereby numbers are noted as being in decline, and finally, Red listing, whereby the species numbers are a cause for concern and it may be that they will be especially considered for future general licence terms. But that is it; it does not mean they are suddenly protected to the same degree of non general licence species. It is true that herring gulls in Scotland have moved from the amber to red listing but this DOES NOT mean there is any change in the way we work under the general licence terms. If the situation is one where you have CONSIDERED other methods and for whatever reason they are not feasible or are ineffective, as long as you can prove this, you can still carry out work under the general licence terms.
If you do ANY form of Herring gull control techniques in Scotand, including egg pricking, please stay within the law and send your returns to Scottish Government. Even if you are doing your control work on behalf of other bodies (perhaps you are contracted by Local Authority) liaise with your employer and ensure that your returns are sent.
Finally, you may have seen in the media a news story regarding herring gulls and that,“seagulls have been officially registered as among Britain's rarest birds.” And even more alarmingly, in addition that Herring Gulls are “as endangered as the Capercaillie, and now, thanks to new legislation, they are as protected as them too.” Not only are these statements wholly untrue, but they are totally misleading to the general public. I have telephone the company, written a letter and have not even had the courtesey of a reply for over a month, but I will not let the matter rest until a satifactory response, or hopefully an apology and correction on the subject is received.
I make no apologies for the length of this posting as there is so much confusion over this subject that it needs a lengthy airing.
Edited by - eekamouse on 23 Aug 2009 14:54:29