You can apply for a licence if you need to control wild birds to prevent disease or serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters.
Criteria you must meet to get a licence
Natural England will only issue you with a licence if you can show that:
- actual damage or a problem is occurring, or likely to occur – and the target species is causing it
- you have tried non-lethal solutions or you can show that they would not be effective or practical
- there are no suitable alternative methods of control
- action you take under the licence will contribute to preventing damage or resolving the problem
- action you take under the licence will not negatively affect the conservation status of the wild bird
If your application does not meet all these criteria, Natural England will reject your application.
Using the licence
You can use this licence to control wild birds, their nests and eggs by:
- disturbing them
- killing them
- taking them
- using a prohibited method of control on them
If you use a trap or decoy bird, you must follow the standard licence conditions in WML-GL33.
Before you apply
Before you apply for a licence, check if your circumstances are covered by one of Defra’s general licences for birds.
You may be able to control wild birds using alternative non-lethal measures. Read about the legal methods you can use to deter certain wild birds without a licence (GU01).
Control birds at an airfield
If you need to control birds at an airfield, check if the air safety class licence CL12 covers your circumstances.
If the air safety class licence CL12 does not cover your circumstances, submit an A08 application form to control wild birds for air safety purposes.
Control wild birds for conservation or health and safety
To apply for a licence to control wild birds for conservation or health and safety purposes that are no longer covered by a general licence, you need to submit an A09 screening form.
Apply for an A08 licence
To apply for a licence to control wild birds to prevent disease or serious damage, fill in:
- form A08 – available on this page
- section 8 extension form – if you have to apply for additional licensable actions
Send your forms to Natural England using the details on the application forms.
This licence is free.
Natural England aims to respond within 30 working days of accepting your application, but the decision can take longer at peak times. Natural England will contact you if it expects to take longer.
You must not start lethal control, or hire a contractor for lethal control, before Natural England has granted your licence.
Report your actions
You must report any actions you take using this licence. Use the report form template LR08 on this page.
You must report within 2 weeks of your licence expiring, even if you’ve taken no action.
Send your completed form to Natural England using the details on the form.
Renew your licence
You can use the report form to renew your licence.