Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

Tackling wildlife crime in Scotland

Aileen McLeod - Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Review group’s report recommends increases to wildlife crime penalties. Scotland’s Environment Minister Aileen McLeod today welcomed the publication of a report examining the penalties available for wildlife crime offences.

The report, drawn up by a review group chaired by Professor Mark Poustie, an Environmental Law expert at Strathclyde University, sets out ten recommendations. As well as increases to the maximum available penalties, the report also recommends greater use of alternative penalties such as forfeiture, systematic use of impact statements in court, new sentencing guidelines, and consolidation of wildlife legislation.

The report concludes that penalties for wildlife crimes have fallen behind those for other types of environmental crime, and that fine levels for many of these crimes have not kept pace with inflation.

Dr McLeod, who is also Chair of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland, said: “I would like to express my sincere thanks to Professor Poustie and the other members of the group for their work on this report.

“Wildlife crime poses a real risk to our natural heritage and has a detrimental effect on the people of Scotland who want to enjoy seeing Scotland’s wildlife on their doorstep, but also more widely to Scotland as a whole. It is vital that the available penalties are an adequate deterrent and properly reflect the impact these crimes can have on Scotland’s environment and wildlife tourism industry.

“The Scottish Government has already taken action to put an end to the illegal poisoning and killing of birds of prey, and I will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to see an end to these unacceptable activities, targeting our wildlife, which continue to take place. This report is one of a number of actions taken by the Scottish Government to tackle wildlife crime and ultimately provide better protection for Scotland’s environment and wildlife. I will carefully consider all the recommendations and will make a further announcement on how we intend to take this work forward.”

Chair of the review group, Professor Mark Poustie said: “I consider that the Group has produced a range of balanced and practical recommendations which should enhance the deterrence of penalties for wildlife crimes and I urge the Minister to take forward the proposals in the Report. I wish to thank my fellow members of the Group for their extensive help in developing the report and also those who participated in the stakeholder engagement process for their contributions.”

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