Clarification on Section 1 of Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
Main article content
We are aware of the comments on our recent weekend posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages around the killing of wild birds.
The posts were published in response to reports made to police around the illegal killing of wild birds using slingshots. Due to the Twitter character limit, this was not referenced in our tweet, only the legislation, and we apologise for any confusion this may have caused.
We were specifically referring to the foundational legislation around the illegal killing or injuring of wild birds - an offence under Section 1 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The DEFRA also issues the following general licences to control wild birds:
- Kill or take Canada geese to preserve public health and safety
- Kill or take carrion crows to prevent serious damage to livestock
- Kill or take woodpigeons to prevent serious damage to crops
- Kill or take wild birds to conserve wild birds and to conserve flora and fauna
- Kill or take wild birds to preserve public health or public safety
- Kill or take wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters
If individuals plan to act under the authority of a general licence, they must:
- be eligible to do so (see conditions of each licence), AND
- comply with the terms of the relevant licence and therefore the law
A person shall be guilty of an offence should their activity not comply with either of the above points.
Our posts did not include reference to the general licences because it was intended to raise general public awareness of the illegal killing or injury of wild birds, not the controlled killing of birds for commercial, agricultural, or health purposes.
We encourage people carrying out lawful pest control to inform police, ahead of time, so that we can make a record of the time and location these activities will be taking place. This means that we can reassure any members of the public who might call police on hearing gunshots, without having to attend the location.