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NatureScot updates gull control licensing guidance
Lesser black-backed gulls are among the species which have declined in number.
The agency has responded to a decline in gull numbers.

The number of licences issued to control gulls in Scottish towns and cities during breeding season is expected to be reduced, after NatureScot updated its licensing guidance.

The guidance has been clarified to ensure applicants are aware that licences to destroy the nests or eggs of gulls, relocate chicks or, as a very last resort, kill gulls, will only be issued in cases where there are clear public health and safety issues that cannot be resolved otherwise.

The move follows a decline in numbers of all five breeding species of gull in Scotland. Last year’s Seabirds Count census, led by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, revealed a significant drop in gull populations since the previous census in 2000. The black-headed gull saw the biggest decline, with numbers down by 75 per cent. Even the herring gull, which saw the smallest drop, still declined by 44 per cent.

Avian influenza has had a significant effect on gull numbers in the last couple of years, with changes in land use and food availability also having an impact.

Liz McLachlan, NatureScot’s licensing manager, said: “Our role is to balance the conservation and protection of species with public interests such as safeguarding people from health and safety risks. To make sure we get that balance right, it’s vital that our licences take into account the latest science and evidence.

“The ongoing declines in gull species in Scotland reported in the latest seabird census is very concerning. That’s why we are taking steps to ensure everyone is aware of our licensing approach, to ensure that populations are protected, and where possible restored, while health and safety risks to the public are minimised.”

Image © Lorne Gill/NatureScot

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

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News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.