From today (1 April 2020), any trapping of stoats will only be lawful under the authority of a licence issued under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, for instance to help conserve birds or livestock.
Natural England has developed two general licences to permit the trapping of stoats in specific circumstances in England. These cover the conservation of wild birds (GL38) and the prevention of serious damage to livestock (GL39).
The changes mean that any trap used for stoats must be certified to meet the welfare standards set out in the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards and approved for use against stoats in the UK.
The move follows a Defra-led consultation in 2018 on the implementation of these standards.
If you need a licence to use a trap in Scotland or Wales and Northern Ireland, you must contact the relevant licensing authority in that country.
- Natural England is the licensing authority for trapping in England. If you need a licence to use a trap in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you must contact the relevant licensing authority in that country:
- Scotland: Scottish Natural Heritage
- Wales: Natural Resources Wales
- Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Environment Agency