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New legal challenge against general licences
Defra announced that it would investigate Natural England’s decision to revoke the general licences.
Wild Justice issues fresh challenge regarding GL26 

Conservation group Wild Justice has launched a new legal challenge against the general licences for lethal control of wild birds in England.

An initial legal challenge in February prompted Natural England to revoke three of the general licences in April. Wild Justice argues that the licences are ‘unlawful’ as they should not be issued unless Natural England has satisfied itself that certain legal conditions have been met.

However, now the group is launching a fresh legal challenge regarding two aspects of GL26 - firstly whether ‘alternative measures’ to lethal control are properly assessed before licences are issued.

And secondly the rules regarding killing carrion crows when they may be causing serious damage to livestock. Wild Justice is questioning whether pheasants can be considered livestock when they are kept for shooting.

The group said it is not calling for the licences to be withdrawn, but is asking Natural England to reflect on the legality of the licences before issuing those for 2020 and beyond.

A briefing point from Natural England said: ‘Natural England can confirm they have received a pre-action protocol letter from Wild Justice. But they do not comment on ongoing legal cases.’

In May this year, Defra announced that it would investigate Natural England’s decision to revoke the general licences. Environment secretary Michael Gove said he would take over the ultimate decision making powers for the general licences and launched a call for evidence.

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”