Environment Committee to seek ‘detailed update’ on gamebird shoot licensing petition

As mentioned on yesterday’s blog (here), the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee met this morning and discussed progress on Logan Steele’s petition (on behalf of the Scottish Raptor Study Group) calling for the introduction of a licensing scheme for gamebird hunting.

The discussion was over in a flash and the Committee agreed to keep the petition open and write to the Scottish Government / Cabinet Secretary for a “detailed update” about the progress that has been made on the proposed package of measures announced by the Cabinet Secretary in May 2017, including the establishment of an independent group to look at the environmental impacts of grouse moor management.

Good. We’re all eager to hear about what progress has been made.

Well done, Environment Committee, for not letting this slip off the radar.

5 thoughts on “Environment Committee to seek ‘detailed update’ on gamebird shoot licensing petition”

  1. If they want to find out ‘what progress’ has been made since May 2017 that should be ‘over in a flash’ too I reckon! Or have I become cynical in my dotage?

  2. Oh that the English parliamentarians were as interested as the Scottish, but excellent that you guys are at least making progress albeit slowly it’s surely?

    What revenue could be generated for the treasury if sporting estates were taxed on income from these ‘sporting activities’?

    Along with the validation of licence compliance (through estate inspection) there ought to be establishment of a truly independent monitor of these matters?

    Self regulation has been shown to be a poor model across so many disciplines, the time has come to require compliance not complacency?

  3. for your information……
    Our ref: 2017/0042700
    12 January 2018
    Dear Mr MacSweeney,
    Thank you for your letter of 20 November 2017 to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael
    Matheson MSP, regarding an incident of suspected raptor persecution. I have been asked to
    respond, and please accept my apologies for the delay in doing so.
    The March 2017 incident you have referred to, in which camera footage of masked men with
    a firearm was recorded on forestry land close to a protected raptor nest, was extremely
    concerning. Police Scotland have released a statement about this incident, confirming that it
    was fully investigated, but that unfortunately there was no positive line of enquiry to follow.
    Due to the poor quality of the image, there was insufficient justification to release it to the
    public at the time.
    Specific details about criminal investigations, such as the type of poison used in a case of
    raptor persecution, are sometimes withheld by Police for operational reasons. Such
    information will be released, as and when possible, at a later date. These decisions are a
    matter for Police Scotland and are made on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the locations
    of wild birds’ nests are routinely withheld by law enforcement and conservation bodies, to
    protect the birds from disturbance or persecution.
    Turning to wildlife crime more widely, I would like to reassure you that the Scottish
    Government takes this extremely seriously. Scotland has robust legislation to tackle wildlife
    crime, arguably the strongest in the UK. For example, vicarious liability, controls on snaring,
    stronger pesticides regulations, general licence restrictions, protections for birds against
    harassment, and for the nests of certain birds when not in use. We believe that law
    enforcement has the tools they need and are looking to see them being used to good effect
    against wildlife criminals. However, we understand frustrations about the difficulty of
    detecting and prosecuting these crimes which often occur in remote, rural areas. Scottish
    Ministers have been clear that they are prepared to take further action where necessary.
    As you may be aware, a report published in May 2017 concluded that almost a third of
    satellite tagged golden eagles had disappeared in suspicious circumstances, with
    Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
    http://www.gov.scot abcdefghij abcde abc a
    persecution the most likely explanation. In light of this report, alongside other incidents of
    raptor persecution, and a recommendation from the Environment, Climate Change and Land
    Reform (ECCLR) Committee, on licensing of shooting businesses, the Cabinet Secretary for
    Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, announced a
    package of further measures to tackle wildlife crime. These were:
     Set up an independently-led group to look at the environmental impact of grouse moor
    management practices such as muirburn, the use of medicated grit and mountain
    hare culls, and to recommend options for regulation including licensing and other
    measures which could be put in place without new primary legislation;
     Review all available legal measures which could be used to target geographical areas
    of concern;
     Increase resources for the detection and investigation of wildlife crime and work with
    Police Scotland to pilot the use of special constables in the Cairngorms National Park;
     Examine how best to protect the valuable role of gamekeepers in rural Scotland;
     Commission research into the costs and benefits of large shooting estates to
    Scotland’s economy and biodiversity.
    The independent grouse moor review group has now been established and will report back
    to the Environment Secretary in spring 2019. Further details can be found at:
    I hope you find this response useful.
    Yours sincerely,
    Daniel Hall
    Policy Officer – Wildlife Crime and Protected Areas

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