Concerns about reports of a poisoned red kite in Dava Grouse Moor outside Cairngorms National Park.
You also requested the following under the relevant Freedom of Information legislation;
- a copy of the forensic report(s) concerning the toxins found in both carcasses; and
- a copy of any report(s) submitted to the PF regarding the incident.
As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
I'd like to assure you that the Scottish Government is very concerned to hear of incidents of wildlife crime. Raptor Persecution is a serious offence and the Scottish Government strongly condemns all those involved in it. Wildlife crime is both abhorrent and completely at odds with our work to address the biodiversity crisis, which is supported by so many people and organisations across Scotland.
As Mairi Gougeon, then Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment set out before the Scottish Parliament on 26 November 2020 in response to the report by the Grouse Moor Management Review Group, we intend to bring an end to the illegal killing of raptors and to bring in whatever measures are necessary to achieve this.
I would like to reassure you and that this remains very much a priority area of work as set out in our 2022-2023 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government is proposing that a licence should be required to shoot grouse, and that if there is compelling evidence of unlawful activity or serious breaches of codes of practice by the licence holder, then their licence could be withdrawn. The grouse moor bill consultation was launched on 26 October 2022 and closed last week. We are now considering these responses and will take those and other evidence into consideration when moving forward with legislation.
Our diverse wildlife brings so many benefits, not only via its contributions to the ecosystems we need to survive, but also by supporting our wellbeing and enriching our lives.
The Scottish Government cannot comment on the procedural matters of Police Scotland in relation to this case. Any enquiries or concerns you may have on this case should be directed to Police Scotland at Contactus@scotland.pnn.police.uk.
I would like to draw your attention to a number of actions we have taken forward in recent years to increase protection for wildlife, including the introduction of the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020 (“the Act”) which came into effect on 30 November 2020. As a result of this legislation Police Scotland are now able to undertake covert surveillance where appropriate.
These changes mean that individuals convicted of deliberately harming or killing raptors could face up to five years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.
As requested at 1) above, I have provided a copy of the forensic report(s) concerning the toxins found in both carcasses regarding the poisoning of a Red Kite found on Dava Grouse Moor. Some details have been withheld under the exception 10(5)(b) in that the release of this information could substantially prejudice any future investigation into this case.
For 2) above, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your requests under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.
This exception is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in a copy of any report(s) submitted to the Procurator Fiscal regarding the incident, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
Whilst the Scottish Government does not hold any of this information, I suggest you may wish to contact Police Scotland at the following contact details who may some of the information you have requested.
FOI - Information Management
2 French Street
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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