The EU Birds Directive 2009/147/EEC (the Birds Directive), provides a framework for the protection, management and control of all wild birds naturally occurring in the EU. Under Article 9(1)(a) of the directive, Member States may derogate from these terms for one or more of the following reasons: public health and safety; air safety; prevent serious damage to crops, livestock, forests, fisheries and water; protection of flora and fauna.

Wood pigeon are one of the birds which are part of this derogation and until this year farmers were allowed to control this species when they are causing critical damage to crops at any time of the season. This ability to limit wood pigeon damage was allowed all year round due to their tendency to inflict economic damage on a broad range of cereal, legume and vegetable crops throughout the twelve months.

The recent decision by The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG) to remove the months of June, July and August from the derogation timeframe for the control of wood pigeon will have serious effect on the economic viability of the tillage and field vegetable sectors. This change to the derogation needs to be reviewed immediately and reversed to in order to allow the continued control of the bird species throughout all months of the year.

IFA Countryside are lobbying to have this rescinded and with this in mind, please see the attached Submission to the NPWS. IFA has had a conference call meeting with NPWS last Monday to resolve this issue.

Read the full IFA submission here.