Changes to general shooting licences from 1 January 2022

25th January 2022

The government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) updated their general G40, G41 and G42 licences on 1 January 2022. These licences govern killing or taking wild birds for the purposes of maintaining health and safety, aiding conservation and preventing damage.

These general licences give wide permissions to landowners, occupiers and authorised persons to lawfully carry out certain activities in relation to wild birds, such as shooting. People do not have to apply to use these licences, but they must make sure that they are authorised to act under them and are compliant with their terms.

DEFRA have made two significant amendments to general licences:

  • The new licences will now be valid for two years, until 31 December 2023. This year-long extension has been introduced in order to provide more stability and certainty to shooters
  • For the purposes of these general licences, the definition of “livestock” now includes game birds, such as pheasants, partridges and grouses. These birds only constitute ’livestock’ if they are kept in an enclosure, or if they are allowed to roam freely but depend on a keeper for their food, water and shelter

Wild birds cannot be killed under the licences in order to protect game birds, unless the game birds fall within the ’livestock‘ definition.

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