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Bills and Laws

Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill

The Bill aims to change:

  • rules around how people can capture and kill certain wild birds and wild animals
  • rules around the making of muirburn (the controlled burning of heather and other plants for land management purposes)

The Bill ended Stage 3 on 21 March 2024



The Bill is in two main parts. Part 1 deals with wildlife management. It introduces four changes to the law:

  • it makes it an offence to use or buy a glue trap that could be used to catch an animal other than an invertebrate
  • it introduces a licensing scheme for the use of specific traps to catch wild birds and animals, which will require people to complete an approved training course
  • it introduces a licensing scheme for killing certain birds (initially, only red grouse), which will require the landowner to have a licence to allow hunting on their land, and introduces a code of practice for managing that land
  • it makes it possible to have Regulations that would give new powers to inspectors, for example from the SSPCA, to gather evidence around certain wildlife crime offences

Part 2 changes the regulation of muirburn. Muirburn is the burning of heather or other plants to manage the natural environment. It is often carried out to encourage new growth, maintain landscapes and habitats, and reduce the risk of wildfires.

If the Bill passes, people will need a licence to undertake muirburn at any point in the year. There would be different requirements depending on the time of year and whether the muirburn is taking place on peatland or not.

Why the Bill was created

The Bill was developed in response to recommendations made by an independent review of grouse moor management. This report is sometimes referred to as the ‘Werritty Report’.

The Bill aims to address illegal targeting of birds of prey and ensure that the management of grouse moors and related activities are carried out in an environmentally sustainable way, that considers the welfare of wild birds and animals.