New laws to protect wildlife and biodiversity.
A new Bill to protect the environment and tackle the persecution of birds of prey has been published.
The Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill aims to:
- end raptor persecution
- ensure grouse moors are managed sustainably
- ban the use of glue traps for rodents
- tighten regulations for the use of other types of wildlife traps
The Bill will also strictly regulate the use of muirburn, the controlled burning of vegetation, on peatland. Licenses for burning on peat will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, such as for wildfire prevention.
The legislation follows the introduction of new measures in recent years to tackle wildlife crime, including the Animals and Wildlife Penalties, Protections and Powers Act, which introduced high penalties for wildlife crimes, as well as the 2023 Hunting with Dogs Act.
Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:
“The illegal killing of Scotland’s magnificent birds of prey cannot be tolerated. This Bill will seek to tackle the destructive minority who would continue to commit these wildlife crimes.
“I recognise that grouse shooting contributes to the rural economy and this Bill is not about stopping this activity. However, it is clear that grouse moors must be managed in a sustainable and responsible way ensuring any environmental impacts are minimised.
“The public consultation on the Bill, which received over 4,500 responses, made clear that the regulation and protection of our natural environment is an important issue for many.
“The views of both the public and stakeholders have been carefully considered in the formation of this Bill and I look forward to its passage through Parliament.”
The new Bill has been designed to implement the recommendations set out in the Werritty Review. This independent report recommended widespread changes to grouse moor management and the regulation of traps in Scotland.
Muirburn is the intentional and controlled burning of moorland vegetation to encourage new growth (either heather or grassland) for the management of moorland game and wildlife or for improving the grazing potential of the moorland for livestock or deer.
In 2020, the Committee for Climate Change recommended that there should be a ban on burning on peat soils.
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