Latest on Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill

First amendments to the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill, at Stage 2, were heard today.


The SGA was at the Scottish Parliament to listen to the debates and, in particular, amendments proposed or supported by the organisation.


While the amendment to ban snaring in Scotland (see video above) was voted through 7-2, much to the disappointment of our members and attending SGA Committee representatives, there were also some positives.

The SGA notes the potential legal challenge to the decision of the Welsh Parliament to ban snares in Wales and this will be closely monitored by the industry, here.

We will also be keeping a detailed record of how the snare ban is impacting rural businesses and conservation and will be taking this evidence to the Parliament at every opportunity.

The SGA-backed amendment to make the wrecking of legal predator control traps a criminal offence, put forward by Minister Gillian Martin, was vote through unanimously by the Committee.

The SGA welcomes the additional provision that it is also illegal to knowingly permit others to wreck or render traps inoperable.

Minister Gillian Martin paid tribute to the work of the SGA in arguing the case for this new provision, as did members across the Committee (see video below).

Training is to become mandatory in order to obtain a trap licence in future; something which mirrors the arrangements previously in place for snaring - a move which was not unexpected.

The SGA was also encouraged to hear the Minister’s commitment to working with Edward Mountain MSP and officials, ahead of Stage 3, to explore the avenue of independent ‘arbitration’ should a muirburn licence be refused by NatureScot, leading to a challenge of that judgement.

This was proposed in order to prevent the regulator being able to act as ‘judge, jury and executioner’, in the words of Mr Mountain, and in recognition that Judicial Review and submissions to the Ombudsman have the potential to be unsatisfactory.

The next amendment session will take place on February 21st, where amendments on grouse licensing and muirburn will be heard.

Following this, the Bill will move to the final stage, Stage 3, in the early Spring.

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