Buzzard control licence

I am aware that Natural England has issued a licence permitting the control of up to ten buzzards to prevent serious damage to young pheasants, and I am pleased that further context for this decision has been provided, given the strength of public feeling.
Licences from Natural England are required for activities that will disturb or remove wildlife or damage habitats, and can be granted to prevent damage to agriculture, livestock, fisheries, property or archaeology. In deciding whether a licence should be granted, all applications have to be assessed in the same way against the relevant policy and within the framework of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
In assessing this application, Natural England took into account the legislative tests and policy guidance, evidence received from the applicant, industry guidance and scientific literature. The application was rigorously assessed with input from specialists across the organisation, and after other methods had been tried unsuccessfully over a five-year period. The High Court recently gave clear direction on decision making in cases such as this, and Natural England took account of the court's findings.
Natural England would not consider licensing any activity which would adversely affect the conservation status of a species. Buzzards are now widespread in England, with over 60,000 pairs in the UK, and the loss of a small number of birds at the specified site will have no impact on the overall conservation status of the species.