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Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings Sessions 1 & 2

Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

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571. He cited the statistic, recently published by the Scottish Government in answer to a parliamentary question, that only 50% of DMGs have plans in place, and only 10% use those plans to set cull levels.198

572. However, Professor Milne went on to say that although there were problems to be addressed, the answer should be found in strengthening the voluntary approach rather than making sustainable deer management compulsory. His solution was that the Bill should place a duty on landowners and managers to work together to ensure sustainable deer management and to participate in DMGs with a view to producing workable deer management plans.

573. The Association of Deer Management Groups, the umbrella organisation for DMGs, challenged the figures published by the Scottish Government, stating that the figures of 50% and 10% quoted by John Milne dated from 2005 and that these figures were now 96% and 76% respectively. It added that 93% of designated sites were now either in an acceptable condition, or were in the process of being made acceptable (a claim that was subsequently disputed by Professor Milne). The Association said that the fact that the Section 8 powers in the 1996 Act, of compulsory intervention, had never been used was testament to the success of the Section 7, voluntary, approach. The Association also noted that a voluntary system of encouragement and consensus was likely to be less demanding on the public purse than a statutory, compulsory, system which would require resource to enforce.

574. Justin Irvine, of MLURI, suggested that having DMGs relying on a code of practice might save resources, and if it were both properly developed and bought into by stakeholders there would be likely to be less need for policy or active management by SNH. It would be up to DMGs to prove adherence to the code. He also stated that DMGs were not currently receiving all the appropriate information which could be of benefit to them, such as details on carbon, and recommended that such matters be communicated more effectively. He argued that the code should provide for this.

575. During its visit to the Alvie Estate on 21 September 2010, the Committee met the estate manager, Jamie Williamson. He told the Committee that he was very active in his local DMG (he is the Chairman of the Monadhliath DMG) and he felt that, on the whole, it had run successfully for over 40 years. Of the approximately 48 members, around 8 were not engaged with the group. He had concluded, as he said others had, that whilst DMGs are not without flaw, he could think of no better way of dealing with deer management across Scotland.

576. The Minister emphasised that the Scottish Government was concerned with outcomes (in this case, that deer are sustainably managed in the public interest), and less concerned with how the desired outcome was achieved. Therefore, if an estate were achieving the desired outcome without participating in the relevant DMG, then, whilst involvement was preferable, it need not be rigorously pursued.

577. The Committee notes the conflicting evidence it received on the success, or otherwise, of Deer Management Groups. However, the Committee notes that there was no evidence suggesting that DMGs should be abolished altogether, but rather a broad consensus that the DMG system was an appropriate one. However the Committee agrees that a review of how DMGs operate is required with a view to encouraging participation in them.

578. The Committee notes that powers held by SNH to intervene to ensure good deer management can have the potential to encourage non-participating landowners to cooperate in DMGs. However, the Committee is not clear whether SNH is currently making full use of this to encourage participation. The Committee would also welcome clarification on whether the powers of SNH allow for intervention, not only when a proliferation of deer is causing difficulties in an area, but also where populations have become unsustainably low through overzealous management.

Code of practice

579. The proposed deer management code, will be very important in fleshing out the standards and practice outlined in the Bill, in the absence of detailed legal provision on the face of the Bill. The establishment of a code of practice, to underpin the wider voluntary system of deer management, was supported in written evidence by several witnesses.199 Scottish Government officials outlined the purpose of the proposed code—

“The code of practice will be a key document. It will set out in detail what we mean by sustainable management, and it will have a role to play under the statute. The code will be taken into account when SNH decides whether to use its intervention powers. That is a more useful approach than just setting out in the bill a general duty to manage deer sustainably. It is more useful to describe in the code of practice what that actually means, and to link that with the intervention powers.”200

580. Many submissions argued that the code should be consulted upon fully and a draft made available before the Bill completes its passage through the Parliament. Indeed, the British Deer Society noted that it was impossible to judge the appropriateness of the deer provisions in the Bill without sight of the code.

581. SNH told the Committee that the code on deer management provided for in the Bill is currently being drafted. On 29 September, when giving evidence to the Committee, SNH reported that one meeting had, at that stage, been held to agree the structure of the code and that officials were planning the timetable of its development to coincide with the timetable of the Bill’s progress through its parliamentary stages. The Committee notes that the NFUS is not currently amongst those groups helping formulate the code of practice for deer management, and recommends that they, and at least one environmental organisation, are invited to participate at future meetings.

582. The Subordinate Legislation Committee, in its report on the Delegated Powers Memorandum, drew the attention of the Committee to the role of the code of practice in relation to deer management by SNH and recommended that it should consider whether the code should be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

583. Given the importance of the code of practice for deer management, and the Scottish Government’s intention that the code stands as a de facto duty of sustainable management, the Committee recommends that the code be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

584. The Committee also asks the Scottish Government to clarify whether all landowners will have to abide by the code and whether SNH will have powers of intervention on any type of land should the code be breached.

Control agreements and schemes

585. The other argument involved in how to best achieve sustainable deer management across Scotland, is that of the extent of legal backstop powers to deal with situations where deer are not being appropriately managed. It would obviously be desirable for any such backstop powers to be used as infrequently as possible, as it could be argued that the more they were used, the less successful deer management in Scotland was. Exercising such powers could also potentially be costly to the public purse.

586. The Bill makes a number of changes to the current powers SNH has to intervene to ensure effective deer management through control agreements (section 7 of the 1996 Act), and control schemes, (section 8 of the 1996 Act).

587. Control agreements between SNH and the relevant landowners seek to address specific difficulties which have been identified due to excessive numbers of deer in specific locations. If a voluntary agreement cannot be secured, or is not adhered to, SNH may make an enforceable control scheme, which requires landowners to reduce deer numbers. If such a scheme were not adhered too, SNH could carry out its own cull, at cost to the landowner.

588. Section 24 of the Bill would require SNH to have regard to the code of practice when considering whether to seek a control order. The reasons under which SNH could seek a control agreement would be amended to include the numbers of deer casing damage to their own welfare and on “public interests of a social, economic or environmental nature” as well as the impact of deer on forestry, farming, natural heritage or public safety. Control agreements and schemes would also include time limits for actions to be taken by landowners, the specification of certain measures being taken for each twelve months of a control agreement, and, in the case of control schemes, interventions by SNH if agreements had not been reached within six months of SNH notifying landowners of a problem.

589. It was confirmed by the Scottish Government in evidence that there had not been any instance of a control scheme being implemented by SNH (or the DCS before it)—

“It is true that control schemes have not been used, but they are the second step in a two-step process. There are control agreements, which come before control schemes. Control agreements have been used in the past and are being used now, but it has been difficult to translate them into control schemes when the Deer Commission has thought that to be necessary. We have considered legal analyses of the problems and we think that some of them can be fixed. That is what we have attempted to do by amending the intervention powers through the bill.”201

590. The British Deer Society argued that the six month timeframe for a voluntary agreement to be arrived at before a control scheme could be brought forward was too short—

“[…] six months is too short a period to reach agreement when either party may have significant plausible reasons for being unable to provide evidence for or against the proposal, given the seasonal nature of the impacts of deer. Control Agreements are to be specific and accurate, science based and deer damage specific. It may well take longer than six months to prove either side of the debate as to the cause of damage and this tight timescale may lead to imperfect evidence being used in the decision making process, deer may only be present in some seasons, it may be some other transient animal causing the damage.”202

591. The Committee notes the importance of the Scottish Government, through SNH, having backstop powers to intervene, through a two-step process, in instances where deer management is not being successfully carried out, and where there is threat to livelihood, natural heritage or public safety The Committee supports the minor amendments in the Bill to the control agreement and control scheme provisions.

592. The Committee also supports the introduction of timescales to both the control agreement and control scheme systems, in an attempt to speed up the process and raise levels of participation. However, the Committee also notes the concerns of the British Deer Society that a six month time frame for a voluntary agreement to be made may require additional flexibility in certain circumstances and recommends that the Scottish Government considers giving SNH the power to extend this period at its discretion.

‘Serious damage’ v ‘damage’

593. Part of the section 8 control scheme powers also gives SNH emergency powers to carry out a cull of deer where they are deemed to be causing serious damage to woodland, crops, livestock or the natural environment, or are posing a threat to public safety. The Bill amends the trigger point of such emergency intervention from deer causing “serious damage”, to “damage”.

594. The SRPBA was amongst several witnesses not in favour of such a change, telling the Committee—

“If the situation is an emergency, the test should be that serious damage rather than just damage has been caused. "Damage" means one deer eating one tree; "serious damage" might mean a herd of 50 deer devastating a forest. Emergency action would obviously be required in the second case but not in the first.”203

595. Professor John Milne noted that Section 8 measures could be referred to the Court of Session and that proving ‘serious damage’ relied on opinion and expert witness and was therefore open to challenge. He did not believe that this would be the case with defining ‘damage’.

596. SNH told the Committee that the primary driver behind this proposed change was the lack of consistency in the 1996 Act. The Act uses both the terms ‘serious damage’ and ‘damage’ in different parts. For example, the provisions in Section 7, which provide for voluntary interventions, use ‘damage’, whereas the compulsory provisions in Section 8 use ‘serious damage’. The term ‘serious damage’ is also used in Section 5 of the 1996 Act, relating to owner-occupier rights to shoot deer during close seasons for specified purposes. It was felt that one reason the Section 8 orders had not been used effectively was because serious damage had been very difficult to define and prove and the threat of challenge was a strong one. SNH concluded that it was relaxed about whether the Bill tackled this inconsistency by using ‘serious damage’ or ‘damage’ throughout the 1996 Act as long as one or the other were used consistently.

597. SNH did not think that if the term ‘damage’ was to be adopted as the standard, this would lead to a more interventionist approach, but rather would help bring a greater degree of clarity to the current system.

598. The Committee agrees with the evidence it received that there is currently an inconsistency in the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996, between the uses of the term ‘damage’ and ‘serious damage’. The Committee also agrees that there has been difficulty in establishing what ‘serious damage’, rather than ‘damage’, consists of. The Committee is therefore content with the provision in the Bill to remove the word ‘serious’ and use ‘damage’ consistently throughout the 1996 Act.

Owner-occupier shooting during close seasons

599. Currently, owner-occupiers may shoot deer out of season if damage is being caused to crops, improved agricultural land or woodland. The Bill amends the 1996 Act to remove this right. In its place, it allows for authorisation to be granted for shooting out of season, for general or specific reasons. It is intended that SNH would issue a general authorisation for out of season shooting which would be removed from any individuals who were found to be in breach of the licence.

600. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar had concerns about this amendment to the 1996 Act—

“It is of some concern that the current rights crofters and farmers have to control marauding deer is to be replaced with a general licence that can be revoked by SNH. The general authorisation described in the proposals for legislation should require minimal administrative effort both to SNH and crofters and farmers affected.”204

601. SNH told the Committee that much of this out of season shooting occurs at night and the licence is there to ensure that those persons are fit and competent to shoot deer, which is not the case at present. SNH also said that the change was to address an anomaly identified in the current legislation—

“Currently, anybody who applies to shoot deer out of season or at night must apply to the Deer Commission, and they have to demonstrate to SNH that they are fit and competent. However, those same tests are not applied to owner-occupiers of agricultural or forestry ground, who have the opportunity to shoot deer under section 26(2) of the 1996 act.”205

602. The Committee is content with the provision in the Bill relating to owner-occupiers shooting deer out of season, and considers it to be a technical change that should not, in reality, change the ability of landowners to control deer out of season, but allow for better regulation should any problems develop.

Competence in shooting deer

603. It was universally accepted that it is important that all those who shoot deer, for whatever reason, be competent to do so, to ensure that deer are shot cleanly and do not suffer unnecessarily.

604. The Bill makes provision for the deer sector to develop its own training programme and competence assessment for shooting deer, and for a mandatory scheme to be introduced, at the earliest in 2014, only if the voluntary approach had not been judged as successful. If a mandatory scheme were to be introduced, the Bill provides for a register to be kept by SNH of those who had passed the competence test.

605. The SGA, SRPBA, ADMG and SEBG all supported the proposals in the Bill and said they represented a good compromise following the responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation. They agreed that there should be no compulsory scheme until at least 2014, if at all.

606. Justin Irvine, of MLURI, supported a register of competence with associated training, and also called for larder and carcass quality data and carcass tagging to maintain better standards than competency alone could achieve.

607. Professor Reid warned against the Bill allowing for the future introduction of a register by negative procedure, as he felt this was too significant a change to the current system for it not be subject to the greater level of scrutiny afforded by the affirmative procedure. Professor John Milne was of the view that a register should be introduced by 2014 regardless of the perceived success of self regulation, as it would still be important to record those assessed as competent.

608. The Committee explored with witnesses why the Scottish Government considered it necessary to assess competence in deer shooting at all, given that there did not appear to be much evidence of a current or historic problem e.g. public safety incidents, reports of deer being wounded, evidence of deer suffering unnecessarily, or public health problems. It could be concluded from this that the majority of those who shoot deer are ensuring their own level of competency successfully.

609. The Committee also noted that there was no requirement to demonstrate competence to shoot other animals, such as foxes or rabbits, which were often shot in greater numbers than deer. Similar arguments as to the consequence of poor shooting of deer would apply, as other animals would also suffer it not shot competently.

610. Scottish Government officials said that “there is a general acceptance among the public that the larger, more iconic, mammals require a greater degree of care.”206 They also said that “the safety record is extremely good as far as the public is concerned”207, but added that a deer should be killed within five minutes of being shot, which did not always happen.

611. SNH added that deer welfare should be at the heart of all relevant legislation and must be of the highest possible standard. SNH argued that it was important, given the status of the deer in Scotland, that it was clearly demonstrated to the public that deer welfare, public safety and public health issues were taken very seriously.

612. John Milne noted that deer culls were reliant on the private sector, to achieve the numbers required, and it was therefore important that the public was satisfied, given that animal welfare issues and high calibre rifles were involved, that shooting was carried out appropriately. He said this was required because of the numbers involved and the status of the animal in Scotland, which warranted this special treatment.

613. Finlay Clark, of the ADMG, said that the effective target set in the Bill, for the industry to self-regulate by 2014, was achievable.208

614. The British Deer Society noted that there were 400,000 registered deer shooters in Norway who take a test believed to be somewhat simpler than that proposed in the Bill. Highland Council said that any future register, if introduced, must not restrict the ability of foreign shooters to shoot in Scotland.

615. The Committee supports the provisions in the Bill which seek to establish a high standard of competency through non-statutory means.

616. The Committee also supports the backstop provision for compulsory testing and a register if the voluntary approach turns out not to be successful. 209

Close seasons

617. The Scottish Government decided not to include in the Bill proposals suggested in its consultation on a draft Bill with regard to close seasons for deer. These included suggestions to shorten the close season for female deer and allow male close seasons to be set by DMGs.

618. The Bill therefore makes no changes to the current requirement for the Scottish Government to set a close season for female deer, and power to set a close season for male deer.

619. The Committee heard support for the view that the close season for deer could either be set to suit local circumstances, or abolished altogether, providing all those shooting deer were proven competent to do so. SNH said that this was a possible eventual outcome, given the direction of travel of the Bill: to let local people, as part of the Deer Management Group structure, decide when and how they shoot. In this eventuality, there may be a case for retaining a close season for female deer, but not for male deer, in order to protect calves.

620. The concern in this is that it would allow a free-for-all and that some people would overly exploit the resource. However SNH said it had sufficient powers to tackle such problems, via control orders and intervention powers, and that it could manage any such instances.

621. The British Deer Society suggested that close seasons are not as relevant as many people may think as they only apply to a minority of land – they do not apply on enclosed land where a great deal of shooting takes place. It is thought that this point relates to owner-occupier rights to shoot deer out of season for specified purposes.

622. Scottish Government officials told the Committee that consideration had been given to the local setting of close seasons but a number of DMGs and others in the sector raised serious objections. The Scottish Government had therefore decided not to change the current arrangements for setting close seasons as there was already sufficient scope within the 1996 Act to vary close seasons if required.

623. Officials also noted that the Scottish Government may return to the issue as “it is not clear that the current close season for female deer best reflects the time when their young are most dependant.”210 The Minister confirmed that the Government did not intend to revisit the issue as part of the Bill, and it would be a matter for future administrations to give consideration to.

624. Finlay Clark, of the ADMG, supported the retention of close seasons in the Bill—

“Back in history, the Deer (Scotland) Act 1959 was introduced largely to afford protection to deer by using close seasons. Deer were a dwindling resource and there was recognition that, unless some protection was afforded to deer species by way of a close season, that resource could not be managed properly […] there might be no welfare issue with an individual male animal being shot out of season while its condition is depleted, but significant disturbance could be caused to the other animals that are accompanying it […] the proposals to retain the current close seasons are pragmatic and take into account the welfare and protection of the resource.”211

625. The Committee notes the concerns expressed in responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on making alterations to close seasons for both male and female deer. The Committee is content that the issue has not been progressed in the Bill and that the 1996 Act contains sufficient flexibility for the Scottish Government to vary close seasons.

626. However, the Committee also notes the comments made by SNH that a consequence of other provisions in the Bill, such as those on establishing universal levels of competence for shooting deer and ensuring more consistent sustainable management of deer, may result in close seasons being unnecessary.

Part 4: other wildlife

Protection of badgers

Background

627. Badgers are currently protected from unlawful persecution, exploitation and disturbance by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (“the 1992 Act”). The 1992 Act sets outs five offences in relation to badgers:

  • taking, injuring or killing badgers;
  • cruelty;
  • interfering with setts;
  • selling and possession of badgers; and
  • marking and ringing.

628. The section relating to interference with a sett was amended by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 to state that an offence was committed where a person undertook the activity directly, or knowingly caused or permitted (the art and part offences) the act to be done.

What the Bill proposes

629. The Bill extends the provision relating to setts in the 2004 Act to the rest of the 1992 Act relating to taking, injuring or killing badgers, cruelty, selling and possession of live badgers, and marking and ringing, so it would be an offence to undertake such activities directly and also knowingly to cause or permit such acts to be done.

630. The Bill also makes changes relating to the administration of licences and penalties. With regard to licences, which are allowed for certain prohibited activities for defined purposes, the Bill proposes that the Scottish Government become the authority for all licences under the 1992 Act, with the power to delegate administration of such licences to SNH by written direction, or to local authorities by order. The Scottish Government has said that this will bring species licences for badgers in line with other species licensing, ensuring consistency with changes outlined in Part 2 of the Bill relating to licensing under the 1981 Act.

631. Consistency is also the Government’s rationale behind alterations to the penalties which apply to offences relating to badgers. Currently, the maximum penalty for killing a badger is less than that for other badger-related offences, such as digging for a badger. This is because the offence of killing a badger may currently only be dealt with by summary procedure, whereas others can be dealt with by indictment and can thus incur greater penalties. The Bill seeks to address this inconsistency by amending the 1992 Act so that all offences may be tried by summary procedure or indictment.

632. The GWCT questioned the legislation protecting badgers more fundamentally, suggesting that the protection now being afforded to badgers was not proportionate or appropriate—

“The GWCT already has concerns about the general level of protection Badgers now receive, where the original intention was more concerned to ensure that practices such as baiting should rightly be stopped. Badgers are known predators of numbers of species of conservation concern and are linked to TB transmission with implications for human health and agriculture. The population of badgers is rapidly increasing and are already in very favourable conservation status.”212

Bovine TB

633. Concerns were raised in responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation, as to how the changes to the 1992 Act in the Bill would affect badger population control that may be required should preventing the spread of bovine TB in badgers become an issue. Scotland was recognised as having OFT (Officially Tuberculosis Free) status by the European Commission on 8 September 2009.

634. Jonathan Hall, of the NFUS, told the Committee—

“Whether the bill would allow sufficient action to be taken in time to arrest an outbreak of bovine TB remains to be seen. We just do not know. I would not say that such an outbreak is probable, but it is possible and I question whether the bill is sufficient in itself. I do not have too much difficulty with what the bill says about badgers, but we have concerns about badgers, full stop, and it is not clear whether the bill will enable farming and other land management interests to overcome some of those issues.”213

635. The UK Government is thought currently to be developing a badger control policy to help with cases of TB in badgers in the south west of England, and any future outbreaks. The Scottish Government stated that the Bill does not change the provisions in the 1992 Act with regard to disease control in badgers.214

Legitimate disturbance of a sett

636. Whilst most evidence on this issue agreed that the changes proposed in the Bill were logical and consistent, concerns were raised, by organisations such as the GWCT, SGA and SRPBA, about currently being prevented from disturbing setts which were no longer active. Various examples were given, from culling foxes who had taken up residence in an old sett, to work being carried out close to the site of a disused sett. The Scottish Association for Country Sports commented on the lack of provision for lawful disturbance of active and inactive setts, citing what they call ‘humanitarian’215 reasons, such as a dog or child being trapped in the sett, or a wounded badger being in a sett which required attention.

637. The Committee supports the proposals in the Bill which bring consistency to the issue of offences and sentencing under the 1992 Badger Act.

638. The Committee notes the concerns that it is important that proper provisions are available in the event of an outbreak of TB in badgers and further notes that Scotland is currently declared as officially bovine TB free. The Committee is of the view that the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 contains sufficient provision, should a cull of badgers be required at any future point, due to an outbreak of TB, and that this Bill makes no alterations to that position.

639. The Committee recommends that the Scottish Government gives consideration to amending the Bill at Stage 2 to address the points raised by several organisations with regard to the legal disturbance of setts that are no longer active.

640. However, the Committee would hope that common sense would prevail in an instance of a badger sett being disturbed to rescue a child or animal in distress, and takes the view that if the law allows that a parent or owner to be prosecuted in such circumstances, it is absurd.

Muirburn

Background

641. Muirburn is the act of burning vegetation, such as gorse, grass and heather, on open habitats including moor and heath. Its purpose is primarily to help manage habitats which are important to various birds and animals, but it also has conservation purposes. It is also carried out to manage the risk of wildfires and could have a role in pest and disease control.

642. Muirburn is currently regulated by sections of the Hill Farming Act 1946, as amended by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”). Under the 1946 Act, muirburn can only be carried out between 1 October and 15 April. This can be extended, (in the case of tenants, with landowner’s permission), until 30 April at altitudes below 450m, and until 15 May at altitudes above 450m. The 2009 Act furthered the out of season burning conditions by allowing Scottish Ministers to vary permitted muirburn dates where necessary or expedient to mitigate climate change. A muirburn code also exists to assist compliance with best practice.

643. During consultation on the Bill which became the 2009 Act, responses indicated that further revision was required to muirburn legislation to reflect changes in both objectives and practice since 1946. As such changes were outwith scope of the 2009 Act, this Bill proposes a number of changes to muirburn legislation.

What the Bill proposes

644. In the Policy Memorandum accompanying the Bill, the Scottish Government defines its aim regarding muirburn as—

“[…] to facilitate well managed muirburn, to ensure adverse environmental impacts are avoided, and to allow prescribed burning to be used for new beneficial purposes. The current regulation of muirburn under the 1946 Act is too restrictive to allow these objectives to be met effectively.”216

645. Following on from the power given to Ministers by the 2009 Act, to vary muirburn season dates to mitigate climate change, the Bill proposes a raft of other reasons for which Ministers could allow out of season burning, including conserving, restoring, enhancing and managing the natural environment, and public safety. It also proposes variation on a geographical basis.

646. The Bill also proposes changing the current extension date, with landowners’ permission, from 15 May to 30 April, regardless of altitude, as it is felt that many moorland birds have started to nest by 15 May and that nesting could be disrupted by burning later than 30 April. Ministers could not reduce burning days beyond this.

Proposed season dates

647. It was clear during evidence taking that the Scottish Government and relevant stakeholders had worked hard during the consultation phase to agree an acceptable compromise on muirburn policy which most groups could sign up to. Therefore the season dates and ability to be flexible with those in certain circumstances, which are in the Bill, are broadly supported by most stakeholders.

648. The Scottish Government commented on the historic argument that the season should begin in September, saying that the out of season licence should cover legitimate cases for September burning and also that further evidence on the impact of September burning needs to be gathered – such as peat fires, and the impact on species.

649. The Committee notes that the season dates outlined in the Bill came about as a result of a great deal of effort to seek a compromise, and that there is broad agreement on the dates from most stakeholder organisations. The Committee therefore supports the proposed burning dates in the Bill.

Licensed out of season burning

650. The Bill also proposes allowing licensed out of season burning, which would be deemed beneficial in certain circumstances. The Policy Memorandum gives examples of such beneficial purposes as “habitat restoration or recovery from heather beetle infestation” and also to “allow research into the impacts of burning at different times of year, to improve understanding of wildlife behaviour and explore new potential uses for muirburn (such as pest and disease control).”217

651. SNH noted that it was not the intention that these be used to carry out catch-up burning required because of poor planning. The intention was that they be used in extraordinary circumstances, such as the need to tackle heather beetle or for scientific study.

652. The Committee saw at first-hand the devastating effect that heather beetle (a beetle which spends the winter months, dormant, in the moss, before warmer temperatures in the spring encourage it to feed on heather and reproduce) can have when it visited Langholm moor. Burning was one of the more effective methods in trying to tackle the beetle effectively, and the timing of that burning was said to be very important. This was cited as an example of the need for licensed out of season burning.

653. Members questioned SNH on whether licenses would be granted in circumstances such as catching-up because of poor weather conditions. SNH confirmed that poor weather was something that due regard would be given to when considering an application, but it was reluctant to open up, say, earlier autumn burning, as the norm, as the intensity of the fire needed to be so much stronger in September, due to the greenness of vegetation, and this intensity had the potential to cause a variety of damage, such as peat damage and carbon release.

654. The written submission by SNH said that—

“We consider that it is important for licence applicants to be able to show that their plans can only be carried out in the close season and that the benefits to be gained will over-ride the underlying purpose of the close season. This will require the applicant to provide adequate information, and may mean that an ecological survey will need to be carried out.”218

655. SNH gave further examples of this to the Committee on 29 September 2010, saying that there would be situations, such as the aforementioned heather beetle outbreak, that would not require a full ecological survey, as enough information was already known about the potential impacts and consequences, and other situations, where not much was known about the stated reasons and claimed benefits, where it would look for a survey or something similar. It would be a matter of judgement for SNH.

656. Plantlife highlighted the negative effects burning can have on certain habitats—

“From a plant conservation point of view, muirburn has very few, if any, benefits. Woody shrubs, lichens and bryophytes are all damaged by burning, with damaged populations taking decades to recover, if they can recover. It is our view therefore that muirburn should not be practised in sensitive habitats where the constituent plant communities cannot recover.”219

657. Plantlife went on to argue for high altitude provisions to be added to the Bill—

“We would therefore encourage the committee to consider retaining power within the bill to limit muirburn at high altitudes, where recovery time is extremely slow for affected plant communities and on steep and rocky slopes of the West Coast where internationally important communities of rare bryophytes occur.”220

658. The Committee is supportive of the provisions regarding licensed out of season burning for combating specific issues such as outbreaks of heather beetle and particularly poor weather during the season, and also to allow scientific experiments.

659. However, it is important that full account is taken of the effect such burning could have on various soils, habitats and wildlife and that all out of season burning is appropriately monitored and managed in strict adherence to the muirburn code.

Poor practice and compliance with muirburn code

660. The muirburn code is published by the Scottish Government and contains information on how and when muirburn should be practised and a list of offences which could result in prosecution. The introduction to the most recent version of the code states that—

“Changes in agricultural support are increasing the importance of this Code. The cross compliance requirements of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) require moorland to be maintained in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC), and the Muirburn Code will be used as the standard expected of managers. The Code applies to farmers and all moorland managers and forms part of the compliance requirements for Single Farm Payments. The Code applies to all areas, regardless of altitude or type of vegetation. It should not be seen as applying only to grouse moors, as the guidance applies equally to the management of all vegetation by fire.”221

661. The Skye and Lochalsh Environment Forum (SLEF) argued in written evidence222 that urgent revisions to the muirburn code were necessary, and highlighted anecdotal evidence which was brought to the Committee’s attention during evidence taking of unregulated and uncontrolled muirburn taking place in Scotland, particularly on the west coast and western highlands and islands. The Forum drew the attention of the Committee to damage it said had been done to habitat, and to animals such as the otter, in February and March 2010, by burning carried out during unsuitable conditions, by inexperienced people, lack of manpower to tackle resulting fires and lack of appropriate law enforcement.

662. In terms of how best to tackle instances of bad practice, the Forum cited an example of using the SRDP as an incentive, as detailed in the code—

“At present the only hope of non-legislative reform lies in the effect of Grazings Clerks being told by the Scottish Governments Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate that their SRDP payments may be withheld if reckless muirburn is continued. At the instigation of S&LEF this was done on Skye with remarkable positive effect.”223

663. The Forum also cites education as key to ensuring better compliance with the muirburn code—

“[…] there ought to be education programmes designed to instil awareness of the law especially as it relates to the protection of otters, badgers, water voles and ground-nesting birds.”224

664. It also suggests that vicarious liability could play a part in better enforcement of the law—

“[…] key solution would lie in the Wildlife and Environment (Scotland) Bill making provision for all landowners to be held vicariously liable for the actions of their crofting tenants.”225

665. However, given that crofters have more or less complete everyday control over their land it would seem peculiar to the Committee to hold their landlords accountable for bad muirburn practice.

666. SEPA noted concerns with regard to soil damage—

“In response to the [Scottish Government] consultation’s request for views on the proposal that Scottish Ministers be given powers to restrict certain types of burning practice which risk soil exposure and erosion, SEPA’s original response strongly supported this proposal. SEPA notes that this proposal has not been pursued through the Bill and it is proposed to address it through further evidence gathering in the first instance. SEPA would welcome involvement in the consideration of that process […].”226

667. The Committee notes that muirburn can be a very helpful land management tool that has economic, social and environmental benefits. It is also aware that if poorly and/or irresponsibly practised it can have a negative effect on wildlife, such as ground nesting birds, habitat, soil and biodiversity. The Committee supports the muirburn code and regulations in trying to prevent poor practice. With regard to SEPA’s comments regarding muirburn causing soil damage, the Committee asks the Scottish Government if it is possible to withdraw or limit funding to any landowner who was not complying with the muirburn code and keeping their land in good environmental and agricultural condition and, if so, whether there have been any instances of this.227

Notification

668. The Bill proposes making changes to the neighbour notification requirements under the 1946 Act, which made it an offence to make muirburn without providing written notice of the date, location and approximate extent of the burn to neighbouring properties at least 24 hours before burning.

669. The Consultation proposed removing this requirement entirely, but that met with some resistance. What the Bill proposes is a compromise position which would see those planning muirburn notifying proprietors and occupiers of the land within 1km of the planned burn of the intention to burn during the season. Further details should only be given on request. If there are 10 or more people to notify, it may be done by notice in a local newspaper and neighbours would have the option of opting out of notifications.

670. NFUS supported the amended notification requirements—

“[…] the more flexible notification requirement, to be introduced under the Bill should ensure that those interested in knowing when and where muirburn will occur will be informed, is a step in the right direction.”228

671. There was no disagreement to these proposals expressed in evidence.

672. The Committee supports the amendments in the Bill to the notification requirements with regard to muirburn.

Part 5: Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Background

673. Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are the primary statutory nature conservation designation across Great Britain. In Scotland they are designated by SNH and are areas of land or water which are deemed to be of special interest due to their flora or fauna or geological or geomorphologic (geological structure) features. There are currently 1442 SSSIs in Scotland, covering approx 13% of the land mass. Most are privately owned.

674. SSSIs were created under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, amended by both the 1981 Act and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (“the 2004 Act”).

What the Bill proposes

675. The Bill makes relatively minor changes to the 2004 Act which seek to improve administrative efficiency, allow restoration of illegal damage without first resort to prosecution, allow boundary rationalisation of multiple and adjoining SSSIs, and allow for denotification of an SSSI in certain situations without having to use the current full procedure.

Merging SSSIs

676. The majority of those who commented on the SSSI proposals to the Committee were content with the provisions in the Bill. One exception to this was the Scottish Association for Country Sports, which had concerns regarding the possible merging of current SSSI sites—

“We still have reservations on the part of this which would allow two SSSIs to be combined without consultation. The concept of saving bureaucracy and expense is excellent, but there is still a loophole whereby a site which is notified principally for a specific species, such as a rare moss, could be combined with an adjacent site, and as a result ‘accidentally’ and unjustifiably become notified for bird species or heritage features which may not be relevant and which would in some cases be vigorously contested by landowners.”229

677. This was also of concern to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, which asked for clarification from SNH of the circumstances in which such mergers would happen.

678. SNH told the Committee the merger was intended for situations such as neighbouring SSSIs which are notified for similar purposes, or for SSSIs which are within other SSSIs. It said the merger was not intended, for example, to be used for merging all SSSIs in one area. The basic rule of thumb was that mergers should only take place where there was a demonstrable benefit to all involved, and where they would provide clarity on what was sanctioned on what land and under what circumstances. All proposed mergers would be discussed with the relevant land owners.

Register of damage

679. The Scottish Wildlife Trust thought the proposals in the Bill could be strengthened by the addition of a requirement to publish a register of damage to SSSIs.

680. The Committee is broadly content with the proposals regarding SSSIs, which appear to be in the interests of simplifying the current administrative arrangements.

Part 6: General

681. This part contains general provision on Crown application and commencement. The Committee has no comment on Part 6.

financial issues

Financial Memorandum

682. The Finance Committee carried out level one scrutiny of the Financial Memorandum (FM), which involved it writing to the Scottish Government, Scottish Gamekeepers Association and Scottish Natural Heritage, to seek views on the financial elements of the Bill.

683. The Finance Committee subsequently sent the responses to the Committee, along with a covering letter. These are attached at Annexe B.

Resourcing of additional SNH duties

684. In evidence to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee, SNH expressed a number of concerns about the extra resources that would be required to implement the proposed licensing schemes, noting that the number of licences issues by the Scottish Government increased by almost 250% between 2005 and 2008. SNH concluded that—

“We are discussing with the Scottish Government how the administration and monitoring of this extra workload can be accommodated at a time of severe financial constraints.”230

685. SNH expanded on this when giving evidence to the Committee on 29September 2010, saying that resourcing the additional provisions in the Bill in the face of a likely declining budget would be a “real issue”231 and that four full time equivalent posts were being transferred to SNH to handle the additional species licensing requirements.232

686. SNH said it was not clear on what the additional burden would be and what the exact resource implications of issues such as deer management, species licensing and muirburn would be. When asked for a ballpark figure, SNH said it would require additional hundreds of thousands of pounds.233

687. The Minister told the Committee that, whilst understanding the concerns expressed by SNH, she was “confident” that existing resources, if deployed efficiently, could deliver the requirements contained in the Bill. She added that the Scottish Government and SNH disagreed on the level of certain costings, for example, the Minister said that SNH estimate that operating the species licence scheme would cost £24,000 more than it currently costs the Scottish Government to operate.

688. The Minster also noted that the Scottish Government’s draft budget was due for publication around the 18 November 2010, and that it would not be helpful to pre-empt the levels of funding for Government agencies.

689. The Committee notes the comments made by SNH regarding its concerns about how the extra duties the Bill places on it will be resourced in the current economic climate.

Annexe A: Subordinate legilsation committee report

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

introduction

690. At its meetings on 29 June and 7 September 2010, the Subordinate Legislation Committee considered the delegated powers provisions in the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1. The Committee submits this report to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee as the lead committee for the Bill under Rule 9.6.2 of Standing Orders.

overview of the bill

691. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (“the Bill”) was introduced in the Parliament on 9 June 2010 by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, Richard Lochhead MSP.

692. The Scottish Government provided the Parliament with a memorandum on the delegated powers provisions in the Bill (“the DPM”).234

693. Correspondence between the Committee and the Scottish Government is reproduced in the Annexe.

694. The Committee determined that it did not need to draw the attention of the Parliament to the delegated powers in sections: 5(3)(d) (inserting new section 2(5) in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981), 6(2) and (3) (inserting new section 10A in the 1981 Act), 10(a) and (b) (amending section 22 of the 1981 Act), 13(3) (inserting new section11A in the 1981 Act), 14 (inserting new sections 14(1)(a)(ii), 14(2B), 14ZC(1) and 14A(1) in the 1981 Act), 26(4) (inserting new section 17A in the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996), 28(3) and (4) (amending section 23A and inserting new section 23B in the Hill Farming Act 1946), 31 (amending section 14 of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004), 34(1) and 35(1).

Delegated powers provisions

Section 14(5) – Power to specify invasive animals and plants outwith their native range which specified persons must provide notification of.

New section 14B(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Power conferred on: Scottish Ministers

Power exercisable by: Order made by statutory instrument

Parliamentary procedure: Negative procedure

695. New section 14B(1) provides that the Scottish Ministers may, by order, make provision about the notification of the presence of invasive animals or plants at any specified place outwith their native range where persons are, or become aware of, the presence of such animals or plants. An order may specify the persons (or types of persons) who must make a notification. New section 14B(4) provides that it is an offence to fail without reasonable excuse to notify the presence of a specified plant or animal in accordance with the requirements of an order. Given the apparent breadth of the power and given the provision for criminal sanctions, the Committee was concerned that notification duties could be imposed on members of the public. The Scottish Government was accordingly asked for an indication of the types of persons whom it is intended will be subject to a notification duty and who will in consequence be subject to criminal sanctions consequent on a failure to notify.

696. The Committee notes that the Scottish Government’s intention is that the duty to notify will only be applied to persons who might reasonably be expected to identify the individual species, these being such persons as would be likely to come into contact with, and be able to identify, species in a professional or official capacity. If it is intended that this power is for this restricted purpose the Committee considers that the power as currently framed is too broad in its application.

697. The Committee recommends that the Scottish Government amends the power to make clear that the duty to notify invasive species can only be imposed on those persons who would be likely to come into contact with such species in a professional or official capacity. The Committee is content that the exercise of the power is subject to negative procedure.

Section 15 – Non-native species code

New section 14C of the 1981 Act

Power conferred on: Scottish Ministers

Power exercisable by: Code of Practice

Parliamentary procedure: Draft laid before the Scottish Parliament at least 30 days before code is issued

698. New section 14C of the 1981 Act provides that the Scottish Ministers may issue a code of practice to provide guidance on the application of sections 14, 14ZC, 14A and 14B of the 1981 Act as amended, the application of any order made under any of those sections or licences granted under section 16(4)(c).

699. New section 14C(6) provides that failure to comply with a provision of a code does not, of itself, render a person liable to proceedings of any sort but the code may be taken into account in determining any question in any proceedings. New section 14C(7) provides that in a criminal prosecution for an offence under sections 14, 14ZC, 14A or 14B, failure to comply with a relevant provision of the code may be relied upon as tending to establish liability.

700. The Committee noted that the provisions of new section 14C(7) are in identical terms to, and have the same effect as, the provisions of section 37(9) of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”) in respect of animal welfare codes. The Committee noted that an animal welfare code under the 2006 Act requires to be laid before, and be approved by resolution of, the Scottish Parliament.

701. Given that a failure to comply with a relevant provision of an animal welfare code under section 37 of the 2006 Act or a relevant provision of a code of practice under new section 14C may be relied upon as tending to establish liability for a criminal offence, the Committee considers that the code has a legal effect of significance which justifies scrutiny by the Parliament. The Scottish Government argues that this would be an unnecessary use of Parliamentary time but does not give the Committee a clear indication as to why this is thought to be the case in this context in contrast to the view taken by the Parliament in relation to the 2006 Act.

702. The Committee does not consider that the Scottish Government has given adequate justification for the lack of Parliamentary scrutiny proposed in respect of the code under new section 14C. Since the code provides a standard which can be used as evidence to determine criminal liability the Committee recommends that the procedure chosen by the Parliament with respect to animal welfare codes under the 2006 Act should be adopted for the code under new section 14C, namely affirmative procedure.

Section 18(3) and (4) – Delegation of a licence granting power to a local authority

New section 16A(4)(a) of the 1981 Act

Power conferred on: Scottish Ministers

Power exercisable by: written direction or order

Parliamentary procedure: no procedure or negative procedure

703. Section 16 of the 1981 Act deals with the licensing of activities which would otherwise be prohibited under Part 1 of the 1981 Act. Section 18(3) of the Bill inserts a new section 16A which provides for the Scottish Ministers to delegate their licensing functions under section 16 to SNH or to a local authority. There are accordingly 2 elements to the power – the first is delegation to SNH, which is to be made by written direction (new section 16A(4)(a)); the second is delegation to a local authority, which is to be made by order (new section 16A(4)(b)).

704. The Committee considered that it would be evident to the public from the publication and terms of an order that there had been a delegation to a local authority. The nature and extent of the delegation will accordingly be in the public domain. However, in respect of delegation to SNH by written direction only, the Committee was concerned that it might not be clear to the public that there had been such a delegation. The Committee therefore asked the Scottish Government how it intends to publish the fact that there has been a delegation of licensing functions to SNH, or otherwise make the public aware that there has been such a delegation.

705. The Committee notes from the Scottish Government response that both the Scottish Government and SNH currently exercise species licensing functions and that the responsibilities of each are contained on their respective websites. The Committee accepts that what is proposed with respect to publication of delegation of licensing functions to SNH under new section 16A(4)(a) reflects what is currently done in this regard. The Committee considers this to be satisfactory.

706. The Committee is satisfied with the Scottish Government response. The Committee finds the proposed power acceptable in principle and that it is subject to negative procedure in respect of delegation by order to a local authority and to no procedure in respect of delegation by written direction to SNH.

Section 23 – Deer management code of practice

New section 5A of the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996

Power conferred on: Scottish Ministers

Power exercisable by: Code of Practice

Parliamentary procedure: Laid before the Scottish Parliament

707. New section 5A requires SNH to draw up a code of practice for the purpose of providing practical guidance in respect of deer management. The code once approved by the Scottish Ministers must be laid before the Scottish Parliament but it is not subject to any Parliamentary scrutiny.

708. The code is not binding nor does it create or have effect with regard to criminal offences. Failure to comply with a provision of a code does not render a person liable to any action in terms of the 1996 Act or to proceedings of any sort. However, amended section 7 of the 1996 Act provides that SNH will have to have regard to the code in exercising its functions with respect to control agreements, including forming a view on whether, in respect of a particular area, deer should be taken, removed or killed. It therefore appeared to the Committee that the code would accordingly have status as a driver and influencer for certain actions on the part of SNH. For this reason, the Committee sought to explore with the Scottish Government why it was considered that no form of parliamentary scrutiny was required.

709. The Committee acknowledges that (unlike the code of practice on non-native species under section 14C of the 1981 Act) the code does not operate as a direct trigger for statutory enforcement action. However, having regard to the provisions of section 7 of the 1996 Act as amended by this Bill, it appears to the Committee that the significance and effect of the code go beyond enabling SNH to provide practical advice and examples to assist deer managers as stated in the Scottish Government response. It will have a part to play in shaping SNH’s approach to control agreements. The Committee considers that it is for the lead committee to judge the apparent significance and effect of the code and whether in light of this it should be subject to some form of parliamentary scrutiny.

710. The Committee draws the attention of the lead committee to the role of the code of practice in relation to deer management by SNH and recommends that it should consider whether the code should be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

Section 27(7) – Protection of Badgers

New section 10A(4)(a) of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992

Power conferred on: Scottish Ministers

Power exercisable by: written direction or order

Parliamentary procedure: No procedure or negative procedure

711. Section 10 of the Badgers Act 1992 deals with the licensing of activities which would otherwise be prohibited under that Act. Section 27(7) of the Bill inserts a new section 10A which provides for the Scottish Ministers to delegate their licensing functions under section 10 to SNH or to a local authority. There are accordingly 2 elements to the power – the first is delegation to SNH, which is to be made by written direction (new section 10A(4)(a)); the second is delegation to a local authority, which is to be made by order made by statutory instrument (new section 10A(4)(b)).

712. The Committee considered that it would be evident to the public from the publication and terms of an order that there had been a delegation to a local authority. The nature and extent of the delegation will accordingly be in the public domain. However, in respect of delegation to SNH by written direction only, the Committee was concerned that it might not be clear to the public that there had been such a delegation. The Committee therefore asked the Scottish Government how the Government intends to publish the fact that there has been a delegation of licensing functions to SNH, or otherwise make the public aware that there has been such a delegation.

713. The Committee notes from the Scottish Government response that both the Scottish Government and SNH currently exercise licensing functions in relation to badgers and that the responsibilities of each are contained on their respective websites. The Committee accepts that what is proposed with respect to publication of delegation of licensing functions to SNH under new section 10A reflects what is currently done in this regard. The Committee considers this to be satisfactory.

The Committee is satisfied with the Scottish Government response. The Committee finds the proposed power acceptable in principle and that it is subject to negative procedure in respect of delegation by order to a local authority and to no procedure in respect of delegation by written direction to SNH.

ANNEXE

Correspondence with the Scottish Government

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1

The Subordinate Legislation Committee considered the above Bill on Tuesday 29 June and seeks an explanation of the following matters:

Section 14(5) – Power to specify invasive animals and plants outwith their native range which specified persons must provide notification of

Given that the breadth of the power may appear to be disproportionate if it is intended to impose duties on ordinary members of the public, the Scottish Government is asked for an indication of the types of persons whom it is intended will be subject to a notification duty and who will in consequence will be subject to criminal sanctions in the event of a breach of duty?

Section 15 – Non-native species code

Given that the provisions of new section 14C(7) are in identical terms to, and have the same effect as, the provisions of section 37(9) of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 in respect of animal welfare codes, and given that a failure to comply with a relevant provision of an animal welfare code under section 37(9) of the 2006 Act or a relevant provision of a code of practice under new section 14C(7) may be relied upon as tending to establish liability for a criminal offence, the Scottish Government is asked why affirmative procedure is adopted with respect to an animal welfare code under the 2006 Act but neither affirmative nor negative procedure is proposed with respect to a code under new section 14C?

Section 18(3) and (4) – Delegation of a licence granting power to a local authority

Given that delegation of licensing functions to SNH is to be made by written direction, how does the Scottish Government intend to publish the fact that the has been a delegation of licensing functions to SNH, or otherwise make the public aware that there has been such a delegation? Can this be made clear on the face of the Bill?

Section 23 – Deer management code of practice

Given that the code of practice on deer management will drive and influence certain actions on the part of SNH, why does the Scottish Government consider that some form of parliamentary scrutiny is not required?

Section 27(7) – Protection of Badgers

Given that delegation of licensing functions to SNH is to be made by written direction, how does the Scottish Government intend to publish the fact that the has been a delegation of licensing functions to SNH, or otherwise make the public aware that there has been such a delegation? Can this be made clear on the face of the Bill?

The Scottish Government responded:

Section 14(5) – Power to specify invasive animals and plants out with their native range which specified persons must provide notification of

The Scottish Government’s intention is that the duty to notify will only be applied to persons who might reasonably be expected to identify the individual species. Such persons would be likely to come into contact with, and be able to identify, species in a professional or official capacity. The Policy Memorandum provides a table of examples of categories of persons the notification duty might be applied to. The table is reproduced here for ease of reference:

Species Species Specified persons for notification
Chinese muntjac deer (Muntiacusreevesi) Forestry/woodland managers;Professional stalkers; Agricultural andEnvironmental Officials
Cervus species (deer) excluding red deer(Cervus elaphus) on the refugia islands Forestry/woodland managers;Professional stalkers; Agricultural andEnvironmental Officials
Carpet sea squirt (Didemnum vexillum) Harbour Masters; Port Authorities;Agricultural and Environmental Officials
European and Canadian beavers(outwith trial reintroduction area) District Salmon Fishery Boards; WaterBailiffs; Fisheries Managers; Agriculturaland Environmental Officials
Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyleranunculoides) District Salmon Fishery Boards; WaterBailiffs; Fisheries Managers; Agriculturaland Environmental Officials
Water primrose (Ludwigia grandiflora) District Salmon Fishery Boards; WaterBailiffs; Fisheries Managers; Agriculturaland Environmental Officials

Section 15 – Non-native species code

The code of practice is intended to be user-friendly and accessible so that it is of value to both professionals and the public. Given the subject matter of this code it is expected to require regular revision to ensure that it is up to date and relevant and incorporates new issues as they arise (which is likely given the nature of this subject). In addition the code may require updating as any new orders are made under the Bill.

The need not to take up an undue amount of Parliamentary time dealing with regular changes, together with the requirement upon Scottish Ministers when making or revising the code to consult SNH and any other person appearing to have an interest, are considered to justify that the Bill requires neither affirmative nor negative procedure.

Section 18(3) and (4) – Delegation of a licence granting power to a local authority

Currently, both the Scottish Government and SNH exercise species licensing functions. Details of the responsibilities of each body are contained on their websites. If a delegation to SNH was made to change the current split in functions, this would be noted on the appropriate pages of the Scottish Government and SNH websites. In addition to this the Scottish Government would inform relevant stakeholders prior to any change to the current split of functions. The Scottish Government does not consider that any statutory provision on this matter is necessary.

Section 23 – Deer management code of practice

Although the Bill requires SNH to have regard to the code of practice and monitor compliance with the code, a breach of the code does not operate as a direct trigger for statutory enforcement action. The code is intended to enable SNH to provide practical advice and examples to assist deer managers. It is therefore prepared by SNH for approval by the Scottish Ministers. The Scottish Government considers that this is the appropriate level of scrutiny for a code of this type, and that Parliamentary scrutiny is not therefore required.

Section 27(7) – Protection of Badgers

Currently, both the Scottish Government and SNH exercise licensing functions in relation to badgers. Details of the responsibilities of each body are contained on their websites. If a delegation to SNH was made to change the current split in functions, this would be noted on the appropriate pages of the Scottish Government and SNH websites. In addition to this the Scottish Government would inform relevant stakeholders prior to any change to the current split of functions. The Scottish Government does not consider that any statutory provision on this matter is necessary.

Annexe B: letter from the finance committee

Finance Committee – consideration of the Financial Memorandum of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill

As you are aware, the Finance Committee examines the financial implications of all legislation, through the scrutiny of Financial Memoranda. The Committee agreed to adopt level one scrutiny in relation to the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill. Applying this level of scrutiny means that the Committee does not take oral evidence or produce a report, but it does seek written evidence from affected organisations.

All submissions received are attached to this letter. I would particularly draw your attention to the comments made by Scottish Natural Heritage. If you have any questions about the Committee’s scrutiny of the FM, please contact the clerks to the Committee via the contact details above.

Andrew Welsh MSP,

Convener

SUBMISSION FROM SCOTTISH NATURAL HERITAGE

Consultation

1. Did you take part in the consultation exercise for the Bill, if applicable, and if so did you comment on the financial assumptions made?

The formal consultation ran from June to September 2009, which SNH responded to. In addition to this, we attended a stakeholder meeting that was organised by the Bill team before the consultation period started, and have held regular meetings with the Bill team as the Bill has been developed.

In our consultation response, we noted that the transfer of all species licensing work to SNH would require additional resources. We have also discussed the resource implications with the Bill team.

2. Do you believe your comments on the financial assumptions have been accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum?

We did not give any figures for the likely financial implications of the Bill in our consultation response. However we discussed some of the likely costs with Scottish Government policy leads for different parts of the Bill after the consultation ended. The figures provided in the Financial Memorandum for the costs to SNH for operating the out of season muirburn licensing system reflect our initial estimates of the costs for setting up and operating this scheme.

It should be borne in mind that there are some elements of the introduced Bill that have changed since the consultation exercise and therefore some financial assumptions need to be adjusted to reflect this.

3. Did you have sufficient time to contribute to the consultation exercise?

Yes.

Costs

4. If the Bill has any financial implications for your organisation, do you believe that these have been accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum? If not, please provide details.

The Bill covers a wide range of topics. Those that will have a financial implication on SNH are highlighted below, listed in the same order as in the Financial Memorandum:

Invasive non-native species

The Bill does not give SNH any new duties with respect to invasive non-native species (INNS), but will provide new powers to assist in future eradication schemes. These powers will be discretionary, and the figures quoted in the Financial Memorandum (para 217) are fair.

The Bill does not make provision for any coordinating body overseeing work relating to the control or eradication of INNS, nor does it identify the need for an initial point of contact for anyone concerned by new infestations or wanting general advice. These issues have been raised in the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee discussions and SNH had indicated that it would be well placed to take on this more central role. There would be an additional staff cost to provide this function which we estimate to be in the order of £40,000.

The Code of Practice that is being developed by the Scottish Government gives guidance on managing INNS, and directs people to the SNH website for information on native ranges of species. We note that there is nothing in the Financial Memorandum about promoting the new Code of Practice but discussions within the Scottish Government’s Invasive Non-Native Working Group have recognised the importance of effective promotion of the Code. Our experience from the promotion of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code is that targeted awareness raising is essential to ensure effective adoption of the Code. Our Communication team have estimated that it would cost around £100,000 to do this well.

Species licensing

One of the proposals in the Bill is for all species licensing that is currently carried out by the Scottish Government to be passed to SNH. SNH already carries out some species licensing, so this proposal would mean that this is all carried out by one organisation.

The Financial Memorandum notes that there are 4 staff employed by the Scottish Government to carry out licensing work, with a combined annual cost of £109,769, and that a similar cost would be incurred by SNH. Our calculation of the overall cost of employing staff at equivalent grades to those mentioned in the Financial Memorandum to carry out this additional work is £134,050. These figures relate only to the licensing work that is currently carried out centrally by the Scottish Government, and do not include any costings for species licensing that is carried out by the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID). We understand that this licensing remit will be retained by SGRPID.

The Financial Memorandum does not include any assessment of any associated costs relating to the transfer of the additional licensing remit to SNH. This includes costs for the development of guidance for use by licence applicants and SNH staff, staff training and the possible development of online licensing systems. These lines of work will be required before any possible transfer of licensing remit happens to ensure a smooth changeover. In addition there is a requirement for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of licence returns to determine the possible impacts of certain activities on the Favourable Conservation Status of some species and to avoid any possible infraction proceedings from the European Union.

Deer

There are three main areas of work for SNH that are derived from the Bill: the development of a Code of Practice for Sustainable Deer Management; the development and operation of a new general authorisation system for owners and occupiers to shoot deer during close seasons for certain purposes; and a review of competence amongst those who shoot deer if the Scottish Ministers do not exercise the power to introduce a statutory register of competence by April 2014.

SNH has started work on producing the Code of Practice, and we intend to stage a consultation exercise for this in Spring 2011. We estimate that this will result in a one-off cost of around £20,000. We are preparing for any possible review of competence in 2014 by determining the current level of competence, against which any future level can be measured. This initial research will cost about £10,000. We estimate that the cost of carrying out a review in 2014 will be around £15-20,000, depending on its terms of reference.

Badgers

The Bill proposes to pass the badger licensing work that is currently carried out by the Scottish Government to SNH. We already carry out some badger licensing work, and provide advice to the Scottish Government for the licences that are issued from Victoria Quay. We therefore consider that this will have a neutral effect on our workload.

Muirburn

SNH will be the licensing authority for the new out of season muirburn licences. The Financial Memorandum quotes estimates of the costs of setting up and operating the new scheme that we passed to the Scottish Government. The running costs are based on an assumption that we will receive 10 applications each year. Submissions made to the RAE Committee at stage 1 have suggested that the demand for out of season muirburn licences may be higher, and we now consider that it would be prudent to expect up to 20 applications per year, thereby doubling the annual costs stated in the Financial Memorandum to £17,214.

5. Are you content that your organisation can meet the financial costs associated with the Bill? If not, how do you think these costs should be met?

The Bill introduces many new areas of work for SNH, as highlighted above, which are not covered in our Grant in Aid settlement. Like other public bodies, SNH is facing unprecedented pressures on its budget and it is unlikely that we could meet the financial costs associated with the Bill without additional funds. We believe there is limited scope to charge for additional licensing services and that this may be counter productive to encouraging their uptake. This would also be a major change in policy that would have to be considered by our Board. If additional funds are not provided to support our implementation of the Bill’s provisions then it is likely that this will not be fully effective, or delivery of some of our other functions, in particular some of those associated with the delivery of National Performance Framework targets and outcomes, will be hampered.

6. Does the Financial Memorandum accurately reflect the margins of uncertainty associated with the estimates and the timescales over which such costs would be expected to arise?

The Financial Memorandum concentrates mainly on the costs of carrying out the new provisions. It does not consider fully the likely start-up costs that will be incurred in preparation for the new processes, such as the costs of preparing guidance, staff training and wider awareness raising, that we have highlighted.

There also does not seem to have been any consideration of phasing in of some of the provisions according to seasons. For example, the timetable for the passage of the Bill may mean that the new Act cannot be implemented before the start of the muirburn, new hare, or hind/doe close seasons. We would suggest that it would be better not to introduce the new muirburn and hare licensing provisions, or the changes to the owner/occupier exemptions for killing deer out of season while the relevant close seasons are under way in 2011. Instead these should be introduced in time for the 2012 close seasons.

Wider Issues

7. If the Bill is part of a wider policy initiative, do you believe that these associated costs are accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum?

The strengthening of the legislative means for dealing with damage to the environment caused by deer or invasive non-native species is likely to increase public expectation that problems will be tackled effectively. For example this means that public bodies that own large areas of land will have to show leadership to deal with invasive non-native species on their land. We have carried out an initial assessment of the work required on the land that we own or manage. This has shown that in some places these species can be controlled as part of our normal land management operations, but in some places significant expenditure will be needed. We may also face increased pressure to use our new discretionary powers in relation to deer or invasive non-native species on other land, and if necessary pick up the costs where these cannot be recovered.

8. Do you believe that there may be future costs associated with the Bill, for example through subordinate legislation or more developed guidance? If so, is it possible to quantify these costs?

Although we propose to develop new guidance for the public and SNH staff before our new functions are passed to us, we will always keep this under review. We may also be required to review the Code for Sustainable Deer Management in the future, and to carry out further awareness raising campaigns in relation to aspects of the Bill’s provisions.

We are also mindful that some amendments could be made to the Bill at stages 2 or 3 that will pass more functions to SNH. In particular the possibility of requiring certain types of game shoots to operate under licence has been discussed at RAE Committee meetings. If this is introduced, with SNH as the licensing authority, we believe that this could amount to around 1fte of additional staff resource.

SUBMISSION FROM ABERDEENSIRE COUNCIL

Consultation

1. Did you take part in the consultation exercise for the Bill, if applicable, and if so did you comment on the financial assumptions made?

Aberdeenshire Council took part in the consultation exercise for the Bill, but no comments were made on the financial assumptions in it.

2. Do you believe your comments on the financial assumptions have been accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum?

N/A

3. Did you have sufficient time to contribute to the consultation exercise?

N/A

Costs

4. If the Bill has any financial implications for your organisation, do you believe that these have been accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum? If not, please provide details.

In most circumstances the financial implications are accurately reflected. However, in reference to species licensing and licensing functions in relation to badgers, if option 3 were favoured, the figures cited may be considered low for Aberdeenshire Council, since we are likely to be involved in more cases than the average assumed within the financial memorandum: approximately 3 and 1 respectively. Thus our costs are likely to be in excess of the £1442 as suggested per local authority.
The costs are also based on staff who are experienced in fully determining and issuing licenses on a regular basis. It is a fair assumption that the time taken for staff that may individually only determine and issue 1 or 2 applications/licenses per year will be greater and therefore the cost of processing each license will increase.

5. Are you content that your organisation can meet the financial costs associated with the Bill? If not, how do you think these costs should be met?

There is no scope within any current budget of the department who would likely be tasked with determining and issuing species licensing to meet these financial obligations. In light of probable future budget cuts the ability to meet these costs in the future seems even less likely. The departments/agencies that are currently dealing with licensing would see a budget saving, if the responsibility for licensing were shifted to another agency, and these savings could be reallocated to local authorities to meet the costs associated with this new function.

6. Does the Financial Memorandum accurately reflect the margins of uncertainty associated with the estimates and the timescales over which such costs would be expected to arise?

Unsure, the estimates and time scales given are only for a period covering 3 years. In considering species licensing and licensing functions in relation to badgers, as more land is developed and more development in the countryside takes place, it is likely that there will be an increased demand for licenses. There has also been a steady increase in the number of licenses issued in Scotland. Licenses pertaining to badgers issued for development purposes in the period 2005-2010 averaged 33 licenses/year, whereas in the previous period 2000-2005, only 15 licenses/year were issued. I would therefore suggest that although the figures cited for the short period up to 2014 may be accurate the likelihood is that the associated costs will continue to rise in future years.

Wider Issues

7. If the Bill is part of a wider policy initiative, do you believe that these associated costs are accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum?

The costs suggested in the financial memorandum would presumably not be affected by a wider policy initiative. However, depending on the impacts of the bill on wider policy, other related financial implications may become apparent.

8. Do you believe that there may be future costs associated with the Bill, for example through subordinate legislation or more developed guidance? If so, is it possible to quantify these costs?

This could be a distinct possibility, but a full study of the impacts of any subordinate legislation would be needed to allow other costs to be identified.

Submission from the Scottish Gamekeepers Association

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association thanks the Finance Committee for being offered the opportunity to comment on the Financial Memorandum and is pleased to respond as set out below. In essence, we believe that the Financial Memorandum provides a practical snapshot of known costs with regard to the draft legislation. We note however that there are costs associated with deer stalking competence, which remains to be adequately quantified. We also note discussion during Stage 1 evidence sessions around proposals for licensing which have not formed part of the draft Bill to date. We do not believe it is appropriate to consider these within the WANE Bill, and certainly not without a full review of the individual costs, the administrative expense and the overall biodiversity objectives.

Consultation

1. Did you take part in the consultation exercise for the Bill, if applicable, and if so did you comment on the financial assumptions made?

Yes, we did take part in the consultation exercise for the Bill. We made no specific comment on the financial assumptions made, except to observe that we did not want legislation to impose unnecessary bureaucracy. The WANE Bill started out with the intention of consolidating and simplifying a range of archaic legislation

2. Do you believe your comments on the financial assumptions have been accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum?

N/A

3. Did you have sufficient time to contribute to the consultation exercise?

Yes, there was adequate time to contribute to the consultation exercise

Costs

4. If the Bill has any financial implications for your organisation, do you believe that these have been accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum? If not, please provide details.

Snaring

The Financial Memorandum makes particular reference to the costs of snare training. The costs of training will ultimately fall on individuals wishing to be accredited. We believe that the figures identified in the Financial Memorandum in respect of snare training numbers and costs are a reasonable estimate of the likely take-up.

We note the assumptions made with regard to the costs to different constabularies. We think some saving can be made on these costs if there is consolidation in the number of constabularies, or if one constabulary (or perhaps a central police agency like the NWCU) holds responsibility for administration. This would also have the benefit of increasing administrative expertise.

Deer

The Financial Memorandum mentions the possibility that following review in 2014, Ministers may decide to implement deer stalking competence requirements. The Financial Memorandum suggests that this might cost between £80 and £280 per individual. Otherwise, the financial implications are not assessed. As with snare training, the costs of competence training will ultimately fall on individuals, rather than on an organisation, unless for instance a land management group or owner decides to bear part or all of the cost of training. By virtue of the increased costs, the implications for take-up are likely to be considerably different than those for snare training. Stakeholders would also have to consider the implications, not just for deer management operators, but also the impact on the stalking tourism market, of any competence requirements. We therefore believe that it should be a requirement to undertake a full review of the financial implications as part of any Ministerial review undertaken in or after 2014.

5. Are you content that your organisation can meet the financial costs associated with the Bill? If not, how do you think these costs should be met?

It is possible that the SGA might choose to subsidise some training costs to encourage prompt accreditation, otherwise the burden will fall on individuals. There is some cost to us in ensuring that we have suitably trained tutors, but we are confident that we can meet these particular costs.

6. Does the Financial Memorandum accurately reflect the margins of uncertainty associated with the estimates and the timescales over which such costs would be expected to arise?

Subject, always, to unforeseen issues, the Financial Memorandum appears to make suitable allowance for margins of uncertainty in the estimates and time-scales for costs. We do however point out above that costs for Deer Management / Stalking competence training remain to be accurately quantified.

Wider Issues

7. If the Bill is part of a wider policy initiative, do you believe that these associated costs are accurately reflected in the Financial Memorandum?

We made the point in response to Q.1 that much of the Bill started out as a consolidation exercise. As consultation, oral and written evidence has progressed through Stage 1 evidence sessions, we note the introduction of discussion on Vicarious Liability and the possibility of land-owner / estate licensing. Neither of these aspects formed part of consultation, have not featured in the Stage 1 draft of the Bill and have not therefore formed any part of the Financial Memorandum. As they have not featured before now in draft legislation, we doubt the competence of subsequent introduction to the Bill, and certainly not without full review of the financial implications, which are considerable. Such implications not only impact in monetary terms, but may also have a profound effect on biodiversity resulting from the potential reduction in incentives for public and private land management.

Similarly, we are not clear that any increased administrative costs associated with licensing could be met by any overall gain in biodiversity benefits. The full impact of such proposals would need to be very carefully assessed in separate review.

8. Do you believe that there may be future costs associated with the Bill, for example through subordinate legislation or more developed guidance? If so, is it possible to quantify these costs?

We have identified that there are further potential costs associated with the Deer Management review in 2014, which have yet to be fully quantified.

We also refer to potential licensing in response to Q.7. This could result in considerable costs falling on individual land managers, when the overall benefits to biodiversity are far from clear. These costs are very difficult to quantify without full and separate review.

Annexe C: Extracts from minutes of the rural affairs and environment committee

15th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 9 June 2010

Legislation on wildlife and the natural environment: The Committee considered its approach to forthcoming legislation on wildlife and the natural environment and agreed to authorise the Convener to make bids to the Conveners Group (and where necessary the Parliamentary Bureau) for any fact-finding visits or external meeting held as part of the Committee's scrutiny of the bill; to delegate to the Convener responsibility for arranging for the SPCB to pay, under Rule 12.4.3, any expenses of witnesses in respect of consideration of the bill; and to hold agenda items involving witness selection, the review of evidence and the consideration of drafts of the Committee's Stage 1 report on the bill in private at future meetings. The Committee also agreed that the clerks should issue a call for views following introduction of the bill.

17th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 23 June 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill: The Committee took evidence on the Bill at Stage 1 from—

Hugh Dignon, Head of Wildlife Management Team, Natural Resources Division, Stuart Foubister, Divisional Solicitor, Food and Environment Division, Legal Directorate, Kathryn Fergusson, Bill Manager, Wildlife Management Team, Natural Resources Division, Steven Dora, Team Leader, Landscape and Protected Sites, Natural Resources Division, and Angela Robinson, Policy Advisor, Biodiversity Strategy Team, Natural Resources Division, Scottish Government.

John Scott declared an interest as a farmer. Scottish Government officials agreed to provide further evidence on a number of matters.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee considered the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.

18th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Tuesday 7 September 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill: The Committee took evidence on the Bill at Stage 1 from—

Dr. Colin Shedden, Director, British Association for Shooting and Conservation Scotland;

Libby Anderson, Policy Director, Advocates for Animals;

Alex Hogg, Scottish Gamekeepers Association;

Mike Flynn, Chief Superintendent, The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;

Hugo Straker, Senior Field Adviser, Game and Wildlife Conservation trust;

Robbie Douglas Miller, and Malcolm Strang Steel, Scottish Rural Property and Business Association;

Jonathan Hall, Head of Rural Policy, National Farmers' Union Scotland.

John Scott declared an interest as a farmer. Peter Peacock declared an interest as a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Scottish Ornithological Club.

19th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Tuesday 15 September 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill: The Committee took evidence on the Bill at Stage 1 from—

Lloyd Austin, Convenor, Scottish Environment LINK WANE group, LINK Trustee and Head of Conservation Policy, Royal Society for Protection of Birds Scotland;

Dr Deborah Long, Convenor, Scottish Environment LINK Biodiversity Task Force, Chair, LINK Board of Trustees and Conservation Manager, Plantlife Scotland;

Dr Paul Walton, Member, Scottish Environment LINK Biodiversity Task Force and Head of Habitats and Species, Royal Society for Protection of Birds Scotland; and

Mike Daniels, Member, Scottish Environment LINK Deer Task Force and Chief Scientific Officer, John Muir Trust, Scottish Environment Link;

and then from—

Bob Elliot, Head of Investigations, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds;

Alex Hogg, Chairman, Scottish Gamekeepers Association;

Sheriff T.A.K. Drummond, QC;

Mark Rafferty, Special Investigations Unit, The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and

Constable David McKinnon, Wildlife Crime Officer, Grampian Police.

John Scott declared an interest as a farmer. Peter Peacock declared an interest as a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Scottish Ornithological Club.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee reviewed the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.

20th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 29 September 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill: The Committee took evidence on the Bill at Stage 1 from—

Ron Macdonald, Head of Policy and Advice, Robbie Kernahan, Unit Manager, Wildlife Operations Unit, and John Kerr, Policy and Advice Officer, Scottish Natural Heritage;

Finlay Clark, Association of Deer Management Groups;

Professor John Milne, ex-Chairman of Deer Commission for Scotland;

Dr Justin Irvine, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute;

John Bruce, British Deer Society.

John Scott declared an interest as a farmer. Peter Peacock declared an interest as a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Scottish Ornithological Club.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee considered the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.

21st Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 6 October 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill: The Committee took evidence on the Bill at Stage 1 from—

Dr Harold Thompson, British Veterinary Association;

Professor Colin Reid, Professor of Environmental Law, Dundee University;

Patrick Stirling-Aird, Scottish Raptor Study Groups.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee considered the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.

23rd Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 3 November 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill: The Committee took evidence on the Bill at Stage 1 from—

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Minister for Environment, Kathryn Fergusson, Bill Manager, Wildlife Management Team, Natural Resources Division, Hugh Dignon, Head of Wildlife Management Team, Natural Resources Division, and Andrew Crawley, Solicitor, Food and Environment Division, Scottish Government.

John Scott declared an interest as a farmer and a landowner.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee considered the evidence heard earlier in the meeting.

24th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 10 November 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee considered a draft Stage 1 report.

25th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 17 November 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee considered a draft Stage 1 report.

26th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3), Wednesday 24 November 2010

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee agreed its Stage 1 report.

Annexe D: Oral evidence and associated written evidence

The Committee took oral evidence at the following meetings:

23 June (17th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

7 September (18th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

15 September (19th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

29 September (20th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

6 October 2010 (21st Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

3 November 2010 (23rd Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill

7 September (18th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

Written evidence

Advocates for Animals
British Association for Shooting and Conservation
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust
National Farmers Union Scotland
Scottish Gamekeepers Association
Scottish Rural Property and Business Association

Supplementary written evidence

British Association for Shooting and Conservation
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Supplementary
Scottish Rural Property and Business Association Supplementary
OneKind

15 September (19th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

Written evidence

John Muir Trust
Plantlife
Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Scottish Environment Link
Scottish Gamekeepers Association
Sheriff T.A.K. Drummond
SSPCA

Supplementary written evidence

Sheriff T.A.K. Drummond
RSPB
RSPB 2

29 September (20th Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

Written evidence

Scottish Natural Heritage
Association of Deer Management Groups
Professor John Milne
Macaulay Land Use Research Institute
British Deer Society

Supplementary written evidence

Association of Deer Management Groups

6 October 2010 (21st Meeting, 2010 (Session 3))

Written evidence

British Veterinary Association
Professor Colin Reid
Scottish Raptor Study Groups

Supplementary written evidence

Scottish Raptor Study Groups

Annexe E: Other written evidence

The following written evidence was received by the Committee from individuals and organisations who did not give oral evidence:

Cairngorms National Park Authority
Colin McClean
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Crown Estate
Dr Adam Watson
East Dunbartonshire Council
Falkirk Council
Grigor & Young
Hare Preservation Trust
Highland Council
Horticultural Trades Association
John Muir Trust
Kevin Wiggins
Law Society of Scotland
League Against Cruel Sports
National Farmers Union Scotland
National Trust for Scotland
Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association
Royal Horticultural Society
Royal Society for Protection of Birds
Scottish Association for Country Sports
Scottish Badgers
Scottish Countryside Alliance
Scottish Estates Business Group
Scottish Hawk Board
ScottishPower Renewables
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Shellfish Association of Great Britain
Skye and Lochalsh Environment Forum
SEPA
Simon Pepper and Andrew Barbour
Woodland Trust Scotland

Supplementary written evidence
Simon Pepper

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Footnotes:

198 Scottish Parliament questions and answers, S3W-33450 and S3W-33451

199 The Scottish Rural Property and Business Association, British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Colin McLean, Association of Deer Management Groups, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and the Scottish Estates Business Group.

200 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 23 June 2010, Col 2950.

201 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 23 June 2010, Cols 2949-50.

202 British Deer Society. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

203 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 7 September 2010, Col 3022.

204 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

205 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 29 September 2010, Col 3125.

206 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 23 June 2010, Col 2952.

207 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 23 June 2010, Col 2952.

208 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 29 September 2010, Col 3169.

209 John Scott MSP dissents from this view.

210 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 23 June 2010, Col 2953.

211 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 29 September 2010, Cols 3173-3174.

212 The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

213 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 7 September 2010, Col 3025.

214 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 23 June 2010, Col 2955.

215 The Scottish Association for Country Sports. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

216 Policy Memorandum, paragraph 166.

217 Policy Memorandum, paragraph 170.

218 Scottish Natural Heritage. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

219 Plantlife. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

220 Plantlife. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

221 Scottish Government (2009). Muirburn code.

222 The Sky and Lochalsh Environment Forum. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

223 The Sky and Lochalsh Environment Forum. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

224 The Sky and Lochalsh Environment Forum. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

225 The Sky and Lochalsh Environment Forum. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

226 The Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

227 John Scott MSP dissents from this paragraph.

228 National Farmers Union Scotland. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

229 Scottish Association for Country Sports. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

230 Scottish Natural Heritage. Written submission to the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

231 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 29 September 2010, Col 3137.

232 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 29 September 2010, Col 3137.

233 Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. Official Report, 29 September 2010, Col 3138.