The Scottish Raptor Study Group (SRSG) has urged the Scottish Government to introduce a licensing system for red grouse management. Scottish Land & Estates has rejected this draconian proposal
In a letter to Minister Paul Wheelhouse The SRSG has argued that sporting estates, companies and individuals should have to apply for a licence.
The SRSG alleges that ‘the maverick side of the red grouse industry has failed over many years to put its house in order, that it still has no intention of doing so and that it is in contempt of the species protection laws that are justifiably in place’. In its letter the group calls for a licensing system supported by stringent sanctions.
Scottish Land & Estates has responded robustly, describing it as draconian, unnecessary and flying in the face of the substantial decline in raptor poisoning.
A spokesman for Scottish Land & Estates said: “We support the Scottish Government’s expressed view that legislation is already in existence, with further new measures updated as late as July last year and this existing legislation should be allowed to take its course."
"Little more than a year ago the Scottish Government introduced radical legislation to deal with any illegal persecution of bird species. There is no real basis for this to be revisited so soon and the introduction of a licensing system for red grouse management could only serve to damage and undermine a business sector that is very important to rural communities."
"There would be no benefit in introducing more bureaucracy in an areas where there is already robust regulation and legislation in place. The Scottish Government already recognises that landowners are committed to voluntary accreditation and developing best practice with Scottish Natural Heritage. There has been clear evidence from official statistics that raptor persecution is in significant decline and given this trend such draconian measures as a licensing system would serve no purpose.”
David Miller of the BBC has covered the story online, in which the SRSG view is supported by comments from Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB.