To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the General Licences (a) GL04, (b) GL05 and (c) GL06 issued by Natural England, whether the 2014 Natural England review made an assessment of legality issues relating to those licences; and for what reason such licences have continued to be issued in that format.
Natural England’s 2014 review consulted on 46 proposals on general and class licences. These included one proposal to strengthen compliance with the requirement for licence users to consider alternative lawful solutions before resorting to lethal control permitted under licences GL04, GL05 and GL06. Following public consultation, there was no consensus on the need for this change which, consequently, was not taken forward. Natural England had no legal advice that questioned the legality of the licences until the Wild Justice challenge in February 2019.