January 25, 2019 1.10pm GMT Updated February 4, 2019 12.09pm GMT
Doctoral Researcher in Environmental Security, University of Sheffield
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 694995).
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License holders will be some of Britain’s most under temporary permits licensed by and . The monitoring and enforcement of these permits relies on self-reporting and regulation – loopholes which could be exploited to feed the demand for illegal bird products in Europe.
The birds at risk throughout England and Wales include species whose numbers are threatened in the UK, according to the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). , and are all included in the permits and are amber-listed for intermediate conservation priority. Another species, , will be subject to licensed killing despite the RSPB red-listing it as a critical conservation priority for the UK.
Both Natural England and Natural Resources Wales are sponsored by central government and are responsible for “” and “ ” according to their websites. They cite safety concerns to justify granting the permits and claim killing birds could .
Although the permits strictly outline the that are allowed to be killed, monitoring and enforcing this will be crucial. By licensing the shooting, trapping, and killing of songbirds in the UK, the government could be offering a route for supplying dead birds to the illicit trade across Europe.