The Daily Telegraph reports that MSP Peter Peacock is preparing to submit a new ammendment to the WANE Bill that will allow the Scottish government to issue ‘yellow cards’ to sporting estates that persistently poison birds of prey.
The issue of estate licensing has featured widely in the drafting of the forthcoming WANE Bill, but has so far been met with resistance from Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham. The new ammendment differs in that it will not automatically apply to ALL estates – instead, it suggests that it will be applicable only to those estates that persistently engage in the criminal activity of raptor poisoning.
Mr Peacock said he is changing the wording of his proposal to ensure there is an earlier right of appeal and stressed that action could not be taken on the basis of a single incident.
“Where there’s a recurrent problem, this would give ministers powers to intervene,” the Highlands and Islands MSP said.
“If the estate owner says ‘we share your concerns and this is what we propose to do about it’, it may go no further.
“If not, then ministers can say there’s reasonable case for intervention here and ask the estate to formally respond with an action plan. If this is not sorted, then the ultimate sanction can be imposed.”
He confirmed this would be a “restriction order”, the suspension of shooting rights for however long its takes for the estate to show its record has improved.
Asked what would be required for this procedure to be initiated, Mr Peacock listed a range of supporting evidence such as the carcases of dead birds, the presence of illegal poisons and local raptor populations being significantly lower than projected.
A spokesman for the Scottish Estates Business Group said: “We are very concerned by the indiscriminate approach being taken.”
He seems to be missing the point. The new ammendment would not be indiscriminate (unlike the original ammendment where ALL sporting estates would be licensed) – instead, it would only target those estates that refuse to abide by the laws of the land. Sounds like a promising compromise to me.