RSPB Scotland slams General Licence system as ‘cover for criminal destruction of raptors’

cage-trapEarlier this year, SNH opened a consultation on the use of General Licences (GLs), in anticipation of updating the terms of use for their suite of 2017 GLs.

This wasn’t anything new. SNH regularly reviews the GLs, but, as has happened so many times before, this year SNH has yet again ignored the on-going conservation concerns about the use of these GLs.

We’ve blogged about the terms of the GLs many times, particularly in relation to the mis-use of traps that are authorised under the terms of the GLs (e.g. see here, here, here, herehereherehere, here) and RSPB Scotland has been questioning the terms of GLs for over ten years (e.g. see here [pages 6-13] and here).

RSPB Scotland responded to this year’s GL consultation, repeating the same concerns as they had ten years ago. You can read their consultation response here: rspb_scotland_response_to-snh_2016_gl_consultation

(As an aside, SNH has now published all the responses to this year’s GL consultation but we’ll be blogging about that in another post).

A couple of weeks ago, SNH announced the changes it was making to the 2017 GLs and, surprise surprise, many of the concerns raised by RSPB Scotland and other conservation organisations have been totally ignored, again. You can read SNH’s announcement here: snh-ogl-consultation-response-letter-annexes-a-b-and-c

baited-clam1Amongst other things, SNH has decided to reinstate the use of meat bait inside clam traps (thus increasing the likelihood of catching birds of prey), and there is also a commitment to ‘explore new and responsive licensing solutions to prevent agricultural damage by ravens’. On-going concerns that have not been addressed include (but are not limited to) compliance (or not) with European environmental legislation; welfare concerns; poor trap design that allows indiscriminate species trapping; year-round use (as opposed to seasonal use); ineffective regulation of trap users; ineffective monitoring of trap use (i.e. number and species caught/killed); inability to identify an individual trap user; and the lovely get-out clause for any General Licence user with an unspent criminal conviction.

Justifiably, RSPB Scotland are pretty unimpressed, as well they should be, and they have issued a scathing press release about SNH’s failure to address long-term concerns, particularly in relation to the use of GLs as a cover for the illegal persecution of raptors. RSPB Scotland’s press release can be read here.

RSPB Scotland has also produced a video to highlight some of their concerns. Watch it here.

If you share RSPB Scotland’s concerns, and you agree that the current GL system is not fit for purpose, you can make your views known to SNH by emailing them at:

6 thoughts on “RSPB Scotland slams General Licence system as ‘cover for criminal destruction of raptors’”

  1. SNH have shown over the last few years that they are firmly on the side of the landowners/Farmer/gamekeepER fraternity. They have given up any pretence of neutrality, especuially when you look at some of the leaked/FOI papers regarding meetings with SGA, SLE etc. They are part of the same Venn diagram of raptor and wildlife persecution, in the name of fat profts for already rich landowners.

    If we had politicians prepared to listen to what the majority say, then it would be disbanded and a proper Wildlife Protection origanisation, but they seem in thrall to the PR spin and influence of the persecutors.

  2. For SNH to disregard it’s own report is quite staggering.
    For information, Alan Stewart in his blog dated 18th December at stated “For the 2017 general licence the use of meat bait in Larsen mate (clam) and pod traps will be permitted provided that those intending to do so register their intent in advance and provide SNH with a return of non-target captures. I must say I have my doubts that true returns will be made since evidence of heavy non-target catches are likely to result in the return to bread or eggs bait only but it is a good start.”
    Those of us who force ourselves to wander around driven grouse moors could send photographs of meat in traps to SNH, not that they are likely to check if it was registered or do anything about it, but the is little else we can do in the face of the SNH attitude, which encourages criminals.

  3. Just like the Cairngorm National Park Authority, SNH are not fit for purpose. Its high time the SNP proved they are a progressive party and distanced themselves from the policies of the Westminster Establishment.

  4. The simple fact is that General Licences are a derogation from the wildlife and habitat directives and should be illegal, if the EU was the draconian organisation it is supposed to be. It puts the UK at the same barbaric level as Malta, with locally legal killing of what should be protected species. That, of course, on top of the illegal killing carried out by criminal gamekeepers, farmers and landowners.

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