Dim-witted DUP dinosaur Jim Shannon MP (Strangford, Northern Ireland), a member of the Countryside Alliance and not known for having a sharp intellect, posed the following written parliamentary question on 5 September 2017:
Question 8483: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, if he will consider controls on the number of raptor birds in the countryside.
Answered by DEFRA Under Secretary of State Dr Therese Coffey, 13 September 2017:
Nature conservation is a devolved matter. In England all wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence to kill, injure or take wild birds or to take or damage their eggs and nests. There are provisions under Section 16 of the 1981 Act that allow for the control of raptors for specific reasons, for example, to conserve other wild birds. Licence applications are dealt with on a case by case basis and priority must be given to non-lethal methods. The Government is not considering any further controls on the number of raptors.
Meanwhile, back in the 21st Century, yesterday in the Scottish Parliament Hen Harrier Species Champion Mairi Gougeon MSP (SNP, Angus North & Mearns) asked the following question:
Question # S50-01250: To ask the Scottish Government what role the police and the Crown Office have in dealing with wildlife crime.
Answered by Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, 14 September 2017:
Wildlife crime is crime. Perpetrators will be investigated and, if there is sufficient evidence, prosecuted, as with any other crime. However, we are aware that there are characteristics of wildlife crime that mean that a specialised approach is required. For example, wildlife crime often takes place in remote areas where there are no witnesses, and of course there are usually no victims able to report what has happened to them. For those reasons, we are working with Police Scotland to expand the resources that are available to the police to tackle wildlife crime, with a pilot project to provide additional special constables in Cairngorms national park. The Crown Office also has a specialist wildlife and environmental crime unit to tackle such crime.
Mairi Gougeon followed up with a supplementary question:
The cabinet secretary will be aware of the recent shooting of a hen harrier on the Cabrach estate and the recent disappearance of Calluna, a satellite-tagged hen harrier, near Ballater. In the light of those incidents, what action is the Scottish Government taking to implement the recommendations of the satellite tagging review?
Roseanna Cunningham answered:
I am aware of those appalling incidents. In the light of the satellite tagging review, which was announced on 31 May, we will bring forward a number of measures, which include setting up an independently led group to look at grouse moor management practices and increasing Police Scotland resources, as I mentioned.
In accordance with that, good progress is being made on those areas; I will announce further details shortly. In the meantime, other work goes on—the police respond to and investigate reports that are received, and there are actions such as the further use of restrictions on general licences by Scottish Natural Heritage when wildlife crime is suspected to have taken place. We are determined to put an end to wildlife crime.