Leading rural organisations have today (2 June) joined forces to call on the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, to bring the chaotic wildlife licensing system run by Natural England back into central Government where it can be fixed.
A new paper, ‘Wildlife Licensing in England: Chaos, Crisis and Cure’, written by the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, the Moorland Association and the Countryside Alliance, catalogues a litany of errors and delays by Natural England brought about by an unwieldly wildlife licensing system that must change to become more efficient, effective and cheaper.
Wildlife licences are required in a range of circumstances to enable land managers to undertake work to conserve species and habitats.
A spokesperson for the organisations, said: “Natural England has a statutory duty to provide a wildlife licensing system. A system designed both to protect livelihoods and some of our most precious wildlife. At the moment it’s unworkable for those who use it and those charged with running it. It’s broken and needs to be fixed. The Government needs to provide a system that works. Wildlife licenses are a cog in the wheel for much conservation management work that happens in the countryside. Land managers across England carry out an essential role by conserving and enhancing important wildlife sites that support iconic bird species such as curlew, merlin and redshank, and to help protect them for future generations. Although this work has been progressing well with Natural England staff on the ground, this is now all at risk with the licensing chaos.”