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Volume 177: debated on Monday 23 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide a breakdown of the species of birds that falconers were licensed to set birds of prey on in 1989; what criteria a falconer must fulfil before being issued with a licence; what are the terms and conditions of the licence issued for a bird of prey to be set on a blackbird; and how many licences have been issued to date in 1990.

In 1989, the Department issued licences to falconers to fly birds of prey at the following species: blackbird, skylark, black-headed gull, song thrush, mistle thrush, redwing, fieldfare and meadow pipit. Before a licence is issued, falconers must identify the bird of prey they intend to fly and specify the number and species of their proposed quarry and the county in which they will be taken.

Licences are subject to conditions restricting them to the period 1 September to 28 February, imposing a limit of 50 on the number of quarry which may be killed; requiring that the bird of prey to which the licence refers is properly ringed and registered, and requiring that a return showing the birds killed be made by 31 March.

To date, two licences have been issued this year.