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29 March, 2017

SNH comments on legal decision on general licenses’ usage

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has welcomed a senior judge’s decision to uphold a decision by SNH to restrict the use of General Licences on land in the Scottish Borders where evidence of wildlife crimes had been found.

The decision had been challenged under Judicial Review by the affected landowners. However, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh Lord Armstrong threw out the case subject to a small change in the boundary of the restriction area to remove an area of low ground on Corsehope Farm.

General licences are a useful tool for land managers and the public. They permit the control of certain common bird species for a variety of reasons including conservation and preserving public health. They allow these activities to take place with minimal bureaucracy or additional requirements providing they are used in accordance with specified terms and conditions.

General Licences rely to a large degree on trust. The decision by SNH to implement this restriction in this case was carefully made and informed by clear evidence found by Police Scotland that wildlife crimes had been committed on the land.

Ian Ross, the SNH chairman, said: “We welcome the outcome of the Judicial Review. This was in effect a test case, and the result supports our decision.

“More widely this decision provides us with confidence that a light touch approach to regulation is not appropriate in situations in which there is evidence of wildlife crime having taken place, but no criminal convictions have been secured. Because of the remote locations where wildlife crime often takes place it can be difficult to find sufficient evidence to secure a criminal conviction. So we need every tool we can to help tackle wildlife crime in Scotland.”

Nick Halfhide, SNH’s director of operations, said: “Nature-based tourism is worth £1.4 billion a year to Scotland’s economy. Raptor persecution detracts from that value and diminishes Scotland’s appeal as a major wildlife tourism destination.

“We are committed to working strongly in partnership with Police Scotland, and other members of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife crime Scotland (PAWS) to stamp out wildlife crime in Scotland. This is a useful tool to help deter wildlife crime and we will now consider its use more widely.”

Contact information

Name
Dominic Shann
Job Title
Media relations lead for marine management
Telephone
01463 725157
Email
dominic.shann@snh.gov.uk
Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help people understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at www.snh.gov.uk or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SNH_Tweets

Tha Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba na buidheann comhairleachaidh dhan riaghaltas a thaobh nàdair agus seallaidhean-tìre air feadh Alba. ’S e an dleastanas a th’ againn cuideachadh a thoirt do dhaoine gus tuigse, luach agus tlachd fhaighinn bho nàdar na h-Alba, an-dràsta agus san àm ri teachd. Airson tuilleadh fiosrachaidh, tadhail air www.snh.gov.uk/gaelic  no lean sinn air Twitter aig http://twitter.com/SNH_Tweets