The Moorland Association responds to the announcement by Natural England of new arrangements for licensing the control of Herring Gulls (HG) and Lesser-Black-Backed Gulls (LBBG). Two species removed from the 2019 General Licences.
These arrangements include the introduction of a maximum threshold for the total number of these gulls that they will allow to be culled in England under Individual Licences.
Considering the gull control currently undertaken for non-conservation purposes – significantly by UK airports, this has the potential to restrict gull control on our uplands by over 70%.
Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association commented: “We are dismayed by this action by Natural England which has the potential to devastate the endangered bird populations that we are all committed to preserving. Most targeted gull control by gamekeepers occurs on upland estates, many of which are European protected sites. This is not done for fun; indeed, it is hard work, but it is vital for protecting endangered species of birds which have seen their populations decline dramatically over recent decades. Gulls feast on a whole range of endangered smaller birds including Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover. City dwellers may view gulls as scavengers and pests going through human rubbish and stealing food, those who have seen them in action in the countryside recognise them as the ruthless predators that they are - devouring new-born chicks and decimating populations of endangered species”.