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  • Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill passes in Scottish Parliament

    Created: 22/03/2024
    News/Events Category: Climate/Environment

    The Scottish Parliament passed a new wildlife law on 21 March 2024 aimed at protecting birds of prey and regulating the grouse shooting industry. 

    The Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill gives a number of protections to wildlife and the countryside, including a licensing scheme for land where grouse are shot. 

    The Bill will help to protect rare birds of prey. Raptors such as hen harriers and golden eagles prey on grouse and when they hunt over grouse moores they can considerably reduce red grouse numbers in comparison to a predator-free landscape The Bill aims to put a stop to illegal raptor persecution by giving NatureScot the power to suspend or revoke a licence to shoot grouse where evidence of such activities is found. 

    Other measures include a ban on the use of snares and glue traps, and regulation on the use of other traps. Snares have been used primarily to protect birds such as grouse and pheasants from foxes, so there is a surplus of these birds for people to shoot for leisure. However, snares are indiscriminate and have been found to trap, injure and kill a wide range of non-targeted species including deer, badgers and even companion animals such as cats and dogs. 

    Licences will now be required all year round for muirburn - the controlled burning of vegetation to encourage new heather growth for grouse and other animals to feed on. There is concern this can damage bogs and directly affect wildlife. When done badly, there is a risk of starting uncontrolled wildfires. 

    You can read the Bill in full here.

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