THIRSK MP Kevin Hollinrake says he understands farmers’ frustrations after after Natural England revoked licences to kill ‘pest’ bird species.

The action was taken last week after the legality of the general licence was challenged by environmental group, Wild Justice.

Since the ban, farmers have been posting pictures on social media of lambs with their eyes pecked out and groups such as the Countryside Alliance said farmers need to be able to protect their crops from pest birds.

The Northern Echo:

Following the revocation on April 23, Natural England introduced the first of the new general licences for controlling birds on Friday but farmers expressed anger that the original licence was revoked before a replacement was implemented.

Mr Hollinrake said that he appreciated the disruption the furore has caused the agricultural community and has held meetings with the Chief Executive of Natural England along with other MPs to express their frustration.

He said: “Natural England is an independent body charged by statute with promoting conservation.

“It has to accept the legal position in this instance, but nevertheless fully recognises that this action is deeply concerning to those planning to use these licences.

“Natural England is therefore moving quickly to minimise short term disruption to those who have a legitimate need to lethally control wild birds.”

New licences will be introduced over the coming days and weeks and Natural England’s interim chief executive Marian Spain said: “This new licence should give peace of mind to landowners who need to shoot to control certain wildlife that they can do so within the law.”