Agriculture Act 1947 and Pests Act 1954 Control of Rabbits Complaint form

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Agriculture Act 1947 and Pests Act 1954

Control of Rabbits - Complaint form

Wildlife Licensing Unit

Natural England

First Floor
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol, BS1 6EB.

Tel: 0845 601 4523

Fax: 0845 601 3438
omplaints about rabbit damage

  • This form should be used if you are suffering significant crop damage (e.g. agriculture, horticulture or forestry) that is caused by rabbits coming from neighbouring land, and your neighbour is refusing to control them.

  • Please complete this form clearly using dark ink. Alternatively you can complete this form online and email it to us.

  • All questions must be answered and the form sent to Natural England at the address given in the box opposite.

  • If you experience any difficulties completing this form, please contact the Wildlife Licensing Unit (see opposite) or your local Natural England Wildlife Adviser (details from the Wildlife Licensing Unit).

  • Natural England publishes a number of advisory leaflets on rabbit control.

      • TIN 003 Rabbits,

      • TIN 023 Rabbits: use of fencing to prevent agricultural damage,

      • TIN 024 Rabbits: use of cage-trapping to prevent agricultural damage.

These are available from the above address or may be downloaded from

Responsibilities of occupiers to control rabbits

  • Section 1 of the Pests Act 1954 places a continuing obligation on occupiers of land in a rabbit clearance area (that is, the whole of England and Wales except the City of London, the Isles of Scilly and Skokholm Island), to kill or take any wild rabbits living on or resorting to their land, unless they can demonstrate that it is not reasonably practicable to do so. In the latter case they have an obligation to prevent the rabbits from causing damage elsewhere by, for example, fencing them in with rabbit-proof fencing. These obligations are continuing obligations and action to control rabbits should be taken whenever it becomes necessary to do so.

Enforcement of the obligation to control rabbits

  • Occupiers who neglect a rabbit infestation on their land which causes serious damage to neighbouring land will be reminded of their obligation by Natural England and given reasonable time to put matters right. If this warning is ignored, the Secretary of State has discretionary powers, under Section 98 of the Agriculture Act 1947, to serve a Notice requiring an occupier to take specified action against the rabbits. If an occupier fails to take the specified action he/she would be liable for prosecution. In addition, the Secretary of State can also arrange for a third party to carry out the necessary control work on the occupier’s land and then recover the cost of this work from the occupier.

1. Your details (complainant)

Title (e.g. Mr, Mrs, Miss)






Business Title (if appropriate)


(b)Address of applicant








Daytime telephone no.(incl. National dialling code) Mobile No.



Fax no. Email address



If you would like us to acknowledge receipt of this application, please tick ONE of the following boxes to indicate your preferred method: Email  Telephone  Fax  Letter 

2. Details of complaint

Please provide a map showing the location of rabbit damage and harbourage described below

(a) Location of damage

Please provide full details e.g. address, field or compartment numbers


In relation to this land are you: (please tick as appropriate) The owner  The Tenant  Other (please state) 

(b) Nature and extent of damage

Please give details including:

- type of crop and area damaged

- cost of damage (e.g. yield loss, cost of additional fertiliser or seed)

- time of year damage occurs

- length of time the damage has been occurring

-whether damage is currently occurring.

Continue on a separate sheet as necessary

Please attach any supporting documentation (e.g. yield data, agronomist’s reports, photographs) as appropriate


(c) Source of rabbits

Please provide details of where the rabbits causing the damage are harboured (e.g. name of land, postal address, field or compartment numbers)


(d) Are there any other causes of damage (e.g. other animals, disease, poor germination or drainage)?

If YES, please give details and state what (if any) action you have taken.


Section 3: Details of neighbour(s)

  1. Please provide the name(s), address(es) and contact details of the owner(s) or occupier(s) of the land where the rabbits causing the damage are harboured.

Neighbour 1






Tel No.


Neighbour 2






Tel No.


Neighbour 3






Tel No.


Neighbour 4






Tel No.


Section 4: Details of action taken by complainant
(a) Have you contacted the neighbour(s) listed above? Yes  No 
If YES, please provide details of the contact made with the neighbour(s) including dates and responses. Please provide copies of any correspondence sent and/or received.


If you answered NO at 4(a) above, please state why you have not made any contact with the neighbour(s).

Please note: it is unlikely that a complaint will be taken forward when no attempt has been made to contact the neighbour to resolve the problem.


Section 5: Further information
(a) Do you have rabbits harboured on your land? Yes  No 
If YES please provide details of rabbit harbourage and of any action you have taken to control the rabbits harboured on your land.

Section 6: Using and sharing Your Information

The data controller is Natural England, 1 East Parade, Sheffield, S1 2ET.

Your information will be stored and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. This Act gives you, as an individual, the right to know what data we hold on you, how we use it, with whom we share it and for it to be accurate.

It will be used for processing your complaint.

Natural England or its appointed agents may use the name, address and other details on this form to contact you in connection with occasional customer research aimed at improving the services that Natural England provides to you.

We will respect personal privacy, whilst complying with access to information requests to the extent necessary to enable Natural England to comply with its statutory obligations under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If you believe that any of the information we hold concerning you is incorrect or out of date, please provide us with the accurate information in writing together with supporting evidence (if appropriate). You should address your correspondence to: Wildlife Licensing Unit, Natural England, First Floor, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6EB. Tel. 0845 601 4523; Fax. 0845 601 3438; Email

Section 7: Declaration
I have read and understand the guidance provided in this complaint form. I declare that the particulars given are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, and I make a complaint in accordance with these particulars.

Signature of complainant

For applications submitted via email, please insert an electronic signature above or tick this box to 

confirm agreement with this declaration






What happens now?

  • If you requested an acknowledgement for your complaint (see page 1 of this form) you will receive this within 5 working days of receipt by Natural England. Your acknowledgement will provide information on the time that Natural England will take to process your complaint and to provide you with a decision.

  • If we do not consider that the information provided on this form justifies further action by Natural England we will write to you explaining why.

  • If the information provided on the form justifies further action you will be contacted by a Natural England Wildlife Adviser who will discuss the problem with you and, if appropriate, arrange to make a site visit with you. During the site visit the Wildlife Adviser will make an independent assessment of the damage and the rabbit infestation, and will provide advice on rabbit control as appropriate. The Wildlife Adviser will also wish to speak with your neighbour(s) and to assess the rabbit infestation on their land. Where possible, a voluntary agreement to solve the problem between all parties will be encouraged.

Please make sure you have:

  • completed all relevant sections of this form,

  • attached relevant maps,

  • attached relevant documents e.g. copies of correspondence,

  • signed and dated the form

WML A02 (01/11)

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