13
Jan
17

Where’s that SNH review of European gamebird licensing systems?

Pressure is mounting for the publication of SNH’s review of the systems used to regulate gamebird hunting in other European countries.

This review was first commissioned over two and a half years ago by former Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, during a parliamentary debate on wildlife crime / raptor persecution, way back in May 2014 (see here).

Nothing happened.

Seventeen months later in December 2015, Claudia Beamish MSP lodged a parliamentary question about the lack of progress:

Question S4W-28992 (date lodged: 16/12/15):

To ask the Scottish Government when it will carry out the review of gamebird licensing and legislation agreed by Paul Wheelhouse in May 2014; who has been appointed to conduct the review, and when it expects the report to be published.

Answered by Aileen McLeod MSP (the then Environment Minister) 11/1/2016:

Tender documents were issued by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) on 11 December 2015, inviting bids from contractors to carry out the review of gamebird licensing and legislation in other European countries. The deadline for quotes to be submitted to SNH is 20 January 2016. We expect work on the review to commence in early 2016 and for the report to be published in autumn 2016.

Nothing appeared in the public domain so in August 2016 Claudia Beamish MSP submitted another parliamentary question:

Question S5W-02043 (date lodged: 18/8/16):

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S4W-28992 by Aileen McLeod on 11 January 2016, on what date the gamebird licensing and legislation report will be published.

Answered by Roseanna Cunningham MSP (current Cabinet Secretary on Environment) 25/8/16:

Further to the answer to question S4W-28992 by Aileen McLeod on 11 January 2016, the review of gamebird licensing and legislation is currently being finalised and will be published in Autumn 2016.

Still nothing, so in October Mark Ruskell MSP lodged a parliamentary question:

Question S5W-04342 (date lodged 31/10/16):

To ask the Scottish Government when the Scottish Natural Heritage review of gamebird licensing systems in other European countries will be published.

Answered by Roseanna Cunningham MSP (Cabinet Secretary on Environment) 8/11/16:

The Scottish Government commissioned Scottish Natural Heritage to carry out a review of gamebird hunting in selected other countries. This is currently being finalised for submission to Scottish Ministers and we anticipate that it will be published shortly.

It’s now January 2017 and still no sign of the report that was promised “in Autumn 2016”, so Mark Ruskell MSP (Scottish Green Party) has submitted another parliamentary question:

Question S5W-06033 (date lodged 10/1/2017):

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-04342 by Roseanna Cunningham on 8 November 2016, on what date the SNH review of gamebird licensing systems in other European countries will be published.

Expected answer date: 24/1/2017.

It is our understanding that the authors of this report submitted their findings to SNH eight months ago, in May 2016. According to the parliamentary answers above, the report was being ‘finalised’ in August and was still being ‘finalised’ in November!

There is great anticipation amongst conservationists to see this report published. The findings are expected to demonstrate just how poorly regulated gamebird hunting is in Scotland in comparison to the more progressive policies implemented in other European countries. If that is what the report’s findings show, this will add considerable pressure on the Scottish Government to introduce a licensing scheme.

Photo by RPUK

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9 Responses to “Where’s that SNH review of European gamebird licensing systems?”


  1. January 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Finalised….aka edited and redacted.

  2. 2 Simon Tucker
    January 13, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Hopefully somebody at the consultancy that produced it will leak the whole thing. It needs to be put into the public domain unedited and unredacted

  3. 3 Tony Warburton MBE
    January 13, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    There’s an awful stink drifting down from Scotland to Cumbria. Can anyone else smell it? Funny word “shortly” ,

    Oxford Dictionary = SHORT = ‘Measuring little from end to end in space or time”. Of course it could mean something totally different in the Caledonian Dictionary, but I couldn’t help but give a wry smile to see that the next word in my Oxford Dictionary was ‘Shot’ – ‘Attempt to hit something by shooting’. What a perfect link!
    Simon, for goodness sake don’t hold your breath waiting for a leak from the ‘consultancy’. We don’t want your death on our hands!

  4. 6 Iain Gibson
    January 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Don’t mean to state the bleedin’ obvious, but it would seem from the Scottish Government’s enthusiasm for “country sports” (often expressed and demonstrated by Roseanna Cunningham MSP), that machinations are going on in the background to appease the hunting and shooting community. The term “country sports” sounds so benign it masks the horrors which it represents. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the LACS line and persistently refer to them more honestly as “cruel sports” or even “blood sports.”

  5. 8 Dylanben
    January 14, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    While we are waiting for the report to be published, might it be worthwhile checking on the exact terms of reference under which SNH commissioned it? I pose the question because I note interesting variations in terminology in the Government replies so far received. Whereas that from Aileen McLeod on 11/01/2016 referred to it being a ‘…. review of gamebird licensing and legislation in other European countries.’, the response from Roseanna Cunningham on 08/11/2016 is less specific, referring to a ‘review of gamebird shooting in selected other countries.’ When did selectivity come into the equation and could the question of what to include and what to leave out be a factor contributing to the delay in it being published?


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