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Pest Control Law

The purpose of this section is to provide information on the legal background, as it stands at present.

Updated 2018

Following the introduction of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011, Scottish Natural Heritage is now responsible for all wildlife licensing in Scotland

The principal piece of legislation protecting birds is the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and its subsequent amendments. The governing body is Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs DEFRA. In the Act it states, all wild birds, their nests and eggs are protected by Law.

However there are currently twelve exempt species, including Herring gulls, Greater Black back gulls, Lesser Black backed gulls, feral pigeons and feral doves, all of which are recognised by DEFRA as a nuisance pest. These birds may be controlled by humane methods under a DEFRA General Licence.

It is highly likely that your pest Gulls or Pigeons are 1 of the exempt species mentioned above.

At the site survey we will be able to identify the species you have on your property.

Causing suffering to Gulls is illegal, only the occupier or owner of a building can take action to control Herring Gulls. If you own or occupy a building you can employ CPC Falconry Services under a DEFRA General Licence, to take action against all Herring Gulls, Greater Black Back Gulls and Lesser Black Backed Gulls on your behalf.

Feral pigeons are a common pest and whilst not protected by Law they must still be treated humanely when being controlled under the DEFRA governance. Causing them harm or prolonged suffering is illegal and again the removal of pigeons needs to be professionally undertaken by trained individuals under a DEFRA General Licence.

Birds will tend to return to the same nesting site and unless action is taken to proof a building, problems associated with these birds may recur annually.


For more information on General Licences go to Scottish Natural Heritage website

Rabbit populations are increasing, as they are becoming immune to the myxomatosis virus. Rabbits become sexually mature after just four months and breed rapidly, so they can readily replace themselves. The introduction of the disease myxamatosis into the rabbit population in the 1950's put a temporary reduction on the rabbit population. However, in the past 30 years or so, widespread resistance to the disease has resulted in greater numbers being seen across the country - in many places back up to 1950's levels.  

Rabbits are vermin & landowners have a legal obligation to control them.



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