This wasn’t anything new. SNH regularly reviews the GLs, but, as has happened so many times before, this year SNH has yet again ignored the on-going conservation concerns about the use of these GLs.
We’ve blogged about the terms of the GLs many times, particularly in relation to the mis-use of traps that are authorised under the terms of the GLs (e.g. see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here) and RSPB Scotland has been questioning the terms of GLs for over ten years (e.g. see here [pages 6-13] and here).
RSPB Scotland responded to this year’s GL consultation, repeating the same concerns as they had ten years ago. You can read their consultation response here: rspb_scotland_response_to-snh_2016_gl_consultation
(As an aside, SNH has now published all the responses to this year’s GL consultation but we’ll be blogging about that in another post).
A couple of weeks ago, SNH announced the changes it was making to the 2017 GLs and, surprise surprise, many of the concerns raised by RSPB Scotland and other conservation organisations have been totally ignored, again. You can read SNH’s announcement here: snh-ogl-consultation-response-letter-annexes-a-b-and-c
Amongst other things, SNH has decided to reinstate the use of meat bait inside clam traps (thus increasing the likelihood of catching birds of prey), and there is also a commitment to ‘explore new and responsive licensing solutions to prevent agricultural damage by ravens’. On-going concerns that have not been addressed include (but are not limited to) compliance (or not) with European environmental legislation; welfare concerns; poor trap design that allows indiscriminate species trapping; year-round use (as opposed to seasonal use); ineffective regulation of trap users; ineffective monitoring of trap use (i.e. number and species caught/killed); inability to identify an individual trap user; and the lovely get-out clause for any General Licence user with an unspent criminal conviction.
Justifiably, RSPB Scotland are pretty unimpressed, as well they should be, and they have issued a scathing press release about SNH’s failure to address long-term concerns, particularly in relation to the use of GLs as a cover for the illegal persecution of raptors. RSPB Scotland’s press release can be read here.
RSPB Scotland has also produced a video to highlight some of their concerns. Watch it here.
If you share RSPB Scotland’s concerns, and you agree that the current GL system is not fit for purpose, you can make your views known to SNH by emailing them at: email@example.com