26 September, 2017
General licences restricted in light of wildlife crimes
Embargoed until 00.01 Wednesday 27 September
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has restricted the use of general licences in two separate cases this week. The decision was made on the basis of evidence provided by Police Scotland of wildlife crime against birds.
These are the third and fourth such restrictions imposed by SNH. A property in Perthshire and an individual will have their licences restricted. They may still apply for individual licences, but these will be closely monitored.
General licences allow landowners or land managers to carry out actions which would otherwise be illegal. This includes controlling common species of wild birds, by shooting or trapping, to protect crops or livestock. General Licences are a light-touch form of regulation and they rely on trust. In situations where that trust has been lost, General Licences are not appropriate.
Mike Cantlay, SNH chair, said:
“We’re working hard to protect our birds of prey. Raptor persecution doesn’t just damage Scotland’s nature, it also affects tourism which in turn impacts on the economy. Yet, because of the remote locations where most wildlife crime takes place, it’s often difficult to prove. We’re committed to stamping out wildlife crime in Scotland, and will continue to work strongly in partnership with Police Scotland and other members of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland).”
Nature-based tourism is worth £1.4 billion a year to Scotland’s economy.
These measures will help protect wild birds in the area, while still allowing necessary land management activities to take place, but under tighter supervision. The three-year restriction will increase if more evidence of offences comes to light.
See the full licence restrictions details at http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/species-licensing/bird-licensing/general/
Media queries - contact SNH media & public relations officer, Nancy Fraser, on 0131 314 6776 or firstname.lastname@example.org (Mon & Tues) or the Inverness press office on 01463 725022.
- SNH Media
Notes to editors
General Licences - General licences permit authorised persons to carry out actions that would otherwise be illegal. They cover certain types of activity relating to birds, such as preventing damage to crops or livestock, preserving public health or air safety, and preventing the spread of disease. General licences cover situations which are regarded as relatively commonplace and where there is unlikely to be any great conservation impact. General licences avoid the need for people to apply for individual licences for these specific circumstances, but are subject to strict conditions, and abuse of them or failure to comply with the conditions could constitute an offence. For more information, see http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/species-licensing/bird-licensing/
Restricting general licences – In 2013, Scotland’s then Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, asked SNH to consider how general licences could be restricted, as part of a number of measures aimed at reducing raptor persecution. The general licence restrictions are backdated, so that action could be taken when there was evidence of wrong-doing since January 1, 2014.
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