Schedule 1 first application

Schedule 1 birds are specially protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This means that it is an offence to intentionally disturb these birds whilst they are building a nest, or in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young; or to disturb dependent young even if not in the nest.

The BTO is responsible for issuing Schedule 1 permits for England and Scotland and checking applications for the issue of Welsh Schedule 1 licences if you wish to:

  • Disturb a Schedule 1 species during the breeding season to monitor breeding performance and ring adults or young
  • Visit the nest of a Schedule 1 species during the breeding season to record the contents only.

For Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Isle of Man you need to go directly to the country government.

Accredited agents and assistants

You DO NOT need to apply for a Schedule 1 permit/licence if you are acting as an "assistant" to a licence/permit holder or you are an Accredited Agent.

Each permit/licence holder can normally have multiple accredited agents named on their permit/licence who are able to carry out work without the direct personal supervision of the permit holder/licensee. Accredited agents DO NOT need to apply for a permit/licence in their name for this species, and only one report will be required at the end of the year. An accredited agent will be issued with  a copy of the permit/licence before undertaking any work under the conditions of the permit/licence. The permit holder/licensee remains responsible for any work carried out under the permit/licence, and should specify to each agent which species and locations covered by the permit/licence they are permitted to undertake ringing/nest recording in.

Each permit/licence holder and each accredited agent can also employ two assistants, who do not need to be named on the permit/licence or to apply for their own permit/licence. These assistants may only undertake the permitted/licenced activities if the permit/licence holder or an Accredited Agent is present and providing direct personal supervision.


Ringers do not need to provide references as part of their application as they have already been subject to an extended training process in order to qualify for a ringing permit.

Non-ringers must ask two referees in relevant positions of responsibility (BTO Regional Representative, ringer, county bird recorder, police officer, etc) to provide written references. These should be sent, with the application form, to the BTO (see below).

Returning your form

Once completed return the form to BTO HQ by emailing: ringing.licensing [at] 

To apply

Choose the type of application form you want to use from the options below. Full details for completing the form are included with the form.

Word version

Word version (DOC, 73.00 KB)


PDF (PDF, 477.54 KB)

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