Proposed changes to game licensing, poaching legislation, deer management, snaring laws and the prevention and control of invasive non-native species are among issues the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee is seeking views on as it begins its scrutiny of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill aims to update various laws concerning wildlife and the natural environment to ensure that they are fit for purpose for the 21st century.
Proposals in the new Bill include:
• removing game licences
• modernising poaching legislation
• improving the management and protection of deer and developing a statutory code of practice for deer management
• introducing new requirements to identify snares and train snare operators
• making offences relating to badgers more consistent and effective
• improving the prevention and control of invasive non-native species
• bringing the protection of certain species under domestic law into line with the protection of similar species under European law
• increasing the flexibility of when muirburn (the deliberate burning of managed upland areas) can be practised
• abolishing the Areas of Special Protection designation; and
• improving the operation of Sites of Special Scientific Interest legislation.
Committee Convener Maureen Watt MSP said: "It is important that legislation to protect and enhance the wildlife and natural environment of Scotland is appropriate for both the present day and the foreseeable future.
"The Committee is looking forward to engaging with a wide variety of people on the many areas covered in the Bill, to help us raise any issues or concerns with the Scottish Government and suggest measures to ensure that the Bill actually achieves its stated goals.
“The Committee intends to visit areas across Scotland during its scrutiny. We hope to meet and hear from as many people as possible who can help us learn at first hand about matters such as deer management, poaching, snaring, invasive non-native species and muirburn."
The Rural Affairs and Environment Committee is seeking views from organisations, bodies and individuals with an interest or involvement in the proposals contained in the Bill and their likely impact.
Views on the proposals should be submitted to the Committee by Wednesday 1 September 2010.
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