General Licences enable wild birds to be managed without the need to apply for specific licences and are reviewed annually by the licensing authority, SNH. With all aspects of predator control under increasing public scrutiny, the annual review is very important. http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/species-licensing/bird-licensing/general/
Scottish Land & Estates will be making a comprehensive response, along with other sporting and land management organisations. We would draw members attention particularly to a new proposal in response to the number of suspected wildlife crime incidents this year connected to predator control.
This is set out on page 4 of the consultation Annex1 Section A. and could enable SNH to “restrict the use of General Licences to trap and shoot wild birds on land where they have good reason to believe that crimes against wild birds have taken place”. When the proposed measure was announced by the Environment Minister in July, Scottish Land & Estates made the following statement:
“As a fully committed participant in the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, we unreservedly condemn wildlife crime and those who are convicted should face the full weight of the law.
“Measures clearly targeted at those guilty of such crimes are to be welcomed, however what is being proposed will demand a very robust evidence base. If the Scottish Government intends to move away from a criminal standard of proof in wildlife crime cases then this is a very serious move and deeply concerning for all land managers, especially as this may result in unfair restrictions on people’s livelihoods. The detail of any such proposals will be crucial.
“We very much welcome the clear statement by the Minister that he is keen to avoid placing an unfair burden on law abiding shooting businesses……”.
“Along with other industry organisations, Scottish Land & Estates will work with Government and law enforcement agencies to ensure any measures going forward are proportionate and targeted."