Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners across Scotland, has today responded to the Scottish Government’s announcement of restrictions on General Licences designed to help tackle crime against wild birds.
Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: "We will need to study the announced changes in greater detail over the coming weeks but it will take time to see how this will work in practice.
"Overall, we support the objective of reducing the already small number of crimes against wild birds but it is important to note that a large proportion of such incidents will be caused by people for whom General Licences are not applicable.
"There were a number of concerns we raised during Scottish Natural Heritage's (SNH) consultation, particularly in relation to the appeals process. We are pleased that these have been taken account of in the announcement and the system of giving landowners time to respond to a notification is welcome. There does, however, remain a need to ensure that evidence presented by police is sufficiently robust and the mechanism by which this is handled is seen to be fair and transparent. There also remains an issue that this licensing process could, for example, be seen to cloud a concurrent criminal investigation by police into the same matter.
"General licences are issued to farmers and landowners across a variety of businesses and often where there is a delivery of public policy objectives, including biodiversity and conservation, and we hope this will not be damaged in the process.
"We will monitor the process closely in future months and years and we will continue to liaise with government and SNH as it develops in due course."