The Farmers’ Union of Wales has slammed a decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to further restrict the ability of farmers and conservationists to control birds which are damaging crops or livestock, spreading disease or causing harm to species of conservation concern.
New General Licences for the control of certain bird species will come into effect on October 7, 2019, introducing significant additional restrictions for farmers and conservationists, compared with the current licence, according to FUW.
The union’s land use committee chairman, Tudur Parry, said: “NRW are running scared following a legal challenge earlier in the year in England from pressure-group Wild Justice. No such legal challenge has been made in Wales.
“It was certainly right of NRW to have reviewed the current legislation in light of what happened in England, but the new licences go far further than just making them legally watertight. In our view the review has been hijacked by those wishing to introduce additional and unnecessary restrictions which are unrelated to the risk of a legal challenge.”
Mr Parry said that the advice given by the FUW and others with an interest in farming and conservation in regular meetings with NRW since February had effectively been ignored, meaning that the new rules would prevent or restrict important conservation work as well as preventing farmers from protecting their crops and livestock.
“Farmers will conclude from this decision that NRW is more interested in introducing ridiculous bureaucracy and restrictions for political reasons rather than protecting Wales’ wildlife and helping farmers protect their livestock and crops,” he added.