Firearms and Explosives

Three general licenses temporarily revoked

Natural England is temporarily revoking three general licenses in England for controlling certain wild birds from Thursday this week. These license’s (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose and some gulls and pigeons.

During that time, anyone needing to control one of these 16 bird species where there is no reasonable non-lethal alternative will need to apply for an individual license. Natural England says it has simplified the process for applying for such a license and details will be available on its website on Thursday 25/4/19.

The change follows a legal challenge to the way the licenses have been issued, which could mean users who rely on them are not acting lawfully. It may also affect the specific condition on your firearm certificate.

Natural England has issued this advice:

It is expected that, over time, many situations currently covered by the three general license’s will be covered by new license’s.
Natural England is undertaking new licensing assessments to support lethal control of certain birds in defined situations, such as to prevent serious damage to livestock from carrion crow and to preserve public health and safety from the impacts of feral pigeons. It intends to start issuing these license’s on from the week commencing 29 April when more details will be available.

If people need to take action in the meantime they will need to apply for an individual license, using a simplified process which will be available from 25 April.

In limited circumstances, people may be allowed to undertake urgent action in accordance with the existing requirements of section 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Anyone exercising lethal control of birds after Thursday 25 April 2019 without taking the above steps will not be covered by a general license and could be committing an offence.

If you are unsure what you should do on your land, visit the Natural England licensing webpage for more information and advice.

The three general license’s being revoked are as follows:

General license GL04: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to prevent serious damage or disease

General license GL05: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to preserve public health or public safety

General license GL06: To kill or take certain species of wild birds to conserve wild birds or flora or fauna

You are now required to provide medical information verified by a GP for all firearm and shotgun applications - this includes renewals. This applies to any application, whether declaring a medical condition or not.   The change is being implemented to enable Cheshire Constabulary to make informed decisions which will protect both the shooting community and the wider public. This will affect any new application submitted from 22nd October 2018 and any renewal from the 21st January 2019.

There is additional information regarding firearms licensing available on the Government website.

Changes to Firearm and Shotgun procedure - Medical Information

Cheshire Constabulary will soon require every applicant to obtain a letter from their GP to verify if they have ever been treated or diagnosed with a relevant medical condition when applying for the renewal/grant of a firearm and/or shotgun certificate.

This requirement affects all applications:

  • For a new Firearms and/or Shotgun Certificate made after 22 October 2018.
  • For a renewal of Firearms and/or Shotgun Certificate that is due to expire on or after 21 January 2019

How to request this information

The information should be requested by you from your GP surgery and provided at the same time you make your application to Cheshire Constabulary. You can download an editable letter template which provides a suggested format for requesting this information from your GP.

What you can do to avoid unnecessary delays with your application

We are hopeful that by introducing a simple and easily process it will speed up the application process and eliminate any ambiguities around the medical declaration.

Most GPs charge for verifying your medical information, but the decision to charge is a matter for you and your GP.

Reminder: Honesty is the best policy

Applicants are reminded that it is a criminal offence to make a dishonest declaration when providing information to support your application.

The fact you have a condition may not necessarily mean your application is refused. However, a false declaration could result in your application being refused, your existing license being revoked and your firearms or shotguns being seized.

To apply for the grant or renewal of a firearms certificate, you should complete the following forms. (Please note, all applications must be accompanied by a Medical Verification letter).

In the case of a firearm renewal application you should contact your firearms enquiry officer to arrange an appointment for a home visit. The contact numbers are available on your renewal letter that you should have received in the post.

If you do not wish to renew your firearm or shotgun certificate, you need to complete the following:

If you buy, sell or transfer a shotgun or firearm, please complete the form below:

Failure to apply for renewal within the specified period may result in you being required to lodge your firearms with a Registered Firearms Dealer or other authorised person.

To apply for the grant or renewal of a shotgun certificate, you should complete the following forms. (Please note, all applications must be accompanied by a Medical Verification letter).

You should return your completed application along with photographs and payment and medical letter to Cheshire Constabulary FLD, Clemonds Hey, Oakmere Road, Winsford, Cheshire, CW7 2UA.

If you do not wish to renew shotgun certificate you need to complete the following:

If you buy, sell or transfer a shotgun or firearm, please complete the form below:

Failure to apply for renewal within the specified period may result in you being required to lodge your shotguns with a Registered Firearms Dealer or other authorised person.

A variation is compulsory if you wish to change a firearm, even if you wish to purchase an identical one to the one that you are disposing of. Applications for one-for-one variations, including both same and different calibre weapons should be made by a certificate holder. Such applications are free of charge and may require further enquires if there is a change in the calibre or use of the firearm.

Although the form states that a copy of the certificate is sufficient but in order for the variation to be completed the original certificate will need to be returned before the new certificate is sent out.

A variation is always necessary if a certificate holder wishes to acquire additional firearms to those that are already possessed. Applications should be made by the certificate holder submitting the certificate together with the completed form 201v and £20.00 fee.

Further enquires are not always necessary but if the variation is to acquire a firearm for a different purpose or is a different calibre then it may be necessary to re-examine the ‘good reason’. The forms below will allow you to update your ‘good reason’.

Limited Extension of Certificate, Section 28B of the Firearms Act 1968, as amended

This provision came into force on 17 April 2018, as a result of Section 131 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, and extends an expiring certificate by no more than 8 weeks.  

This extension is conditional on the renewal application being made no less than 8 weeks before expiry, and does not alter the terms of the original certificate, with the purchase of ammunition and the transfer of guns still being permitted. 

In Cheshire, we do not anticipate having to use this extension in cases other than when there are additional enquiries that will take us past the expiry date.  As soon as we identify any such issue, an extension letter will be granted, and our advice is that certificate holders retain the letter with their expiring certificate as proof of the extension.

For applications that are made less than 8 weeks before expiry, the limited extension will not apply, and if the renewal process cannot be completed before the expiry date, the holder will have to make alternative arrangements for their guns, as has been the practice for some time.

When an application that has been extended is granted, the renewal date will remain unchanged, and the new certificate will be dated from the previous expiry date, with any additional time under this provision not counting towards the new certificate.

Therefore, if a holder has an expired certificate, but it is within the 8 week period after expiry, and they produce a letter confirming the limited extension, their certificate can be regarded as valid in all respects.


Firearm Grant


Firearm Renewal


Shotgun Grant


Shotgun Renewal


Co Term Grant


Co Term Renewal


Registered Firearms Dealer Grant/renewal


Visitors Permit (Individual)


Visitors Permit (group)


Game fairs


Replacement certificate (all)




Further Information

For more information, please download the Firearms Licensing Information Booklet or contact us on the following:

Telephone: 01606 362084 (from 8.30am to 10am and 2pm to 4.30pm) 

Fax: 01606 362127

Email: [email protected]

Cheshire Constabulary
Firearms Licensing Department
Clemonds Hey
Oakmere Road