Legal restrictions imposed on Perthshire shooting estate
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has released details of two restrictions imposed on the use of General Licenses on a 'sporting' estate in Perthshire and on an un-named individual. These follow previous similar restrictions imposed on grouse moors in Stirlingshire and the Scottish Borders.
RSPB Scotland has welcomed the announcement as a video supporting the legal restrictions was released, but no prosecutions have yet resulted from the evidence.
Video evidence presented by SNH to procure the legal restrictions on the estates concerned. Video: RSPB.
Duncan Orr-Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management for RSPB Scotland said: “We are pleased to read the SNH announcement restricting the use of the General Licence in these cases. In May 2017, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment announced a package of new measures designed to protect birds of prey, including the consideration of all legal measures that could be used to target geographical areas of concern, and this is part of that approach.
“We look forward to hearing soon what other measures are to be implemented to act as meaningful deterrents to the continuing crimes against our vulnerable birds of prey. We believe that these current measures also need to be allied to an effective licensing scheme for driven grouse shooting in particular, where any illegal and bad practice substantiated by the public authorities would also result in the ultimate sanction of licence removal.
“We envisage that any licensing system could work along similar lines to those that SNH have used, based upon stringent checks and balances of police evidence and SNH advice, to provide safeguards for those sporting businesses which work within the law and follow best practice.”
Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations, added: “We are disappointed that no prosecutions have arisen from either of these cases. It has been reported by the authorities that these latest restrictions are as a result of evidence of serious wildlife crime offences being found, with clear links to local gamebird shoot management established by the subsequent investigations.
“This part of Perthshire has had an appalling history of raptor persecution and this case followed the discovery by police of two poisoned [Common] Buzzards. The other restriction was imposed after RSPB investigations staff passed video footage to police of a gamekeeper allegedly setting illegal traps baited with a dead Woodpigeon, very close to a Goshawk nest in north-east Scotland.”