Vicarious liability one step closer

Congratulations to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs & Environment Committee for its continued support of the proposed introduction of vicarious liability to the WANE Bill. Their latest deliberations took place at Holyrood on Wednesday 12 January 2011 during Stage 2 of the Bill and all bar one of the committee members were very much in support of Roseanna Cunningham’s ammendment on this issue.

No surprise to learn that the only person who opposed it was John Scott MSP, who tried to suggest that the issue had been sprung on landowners out of the blue and that the neccesary consultation was inadequate. Roseanna Cunningham bit back with some welcome feistiness and told him his suggestions were nonsense – she had warned over a year ago that unless raptor persecution levels showed a significant drop, then vicarious liability was going to be “inevitable”. She had wanted to give the shooting industry an opportunity to get their house in order on a voluntary basis but after the appalling incidents at Skibo Estate, Moy Estate, and others throughout 2010, it was blatantly obvious that the industry was incapable of self-regulation and thus further legislation was neccessary. The rest of the RAE Committee agreed with her and John Scott MSP was out-voted 7 – 1 for the ammendment to continue to Stage 3.

John Scott also used the Stage 2 meeting to try and bring an ammendment that would allow more flexibility for the issue of licences to kill protected species (presumably starting with buzzards) under the European Birds Directive. That was also given short shrift by the Environment Minister who told him that the flexibility offered by the Directive was inapplicable to sport shooting.

There was no mention of the Hen Harrier Conservation Framework during the 3 hour meeting – presumably because most of the Committee have not yet been given the opportunity to read it. Hopefully it will be available to them before the concluding Stage 2 meeting at the end of January.

Wednesday’s meeting can be viewed on Holyrood TV: http://www.holyrood.tv/library.asp?iPid=3&section=102&title=Rural+Affairs+and+Environment+Committee

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