NFU Scotland believes the final shape of the landmark wildlife bill being developed in Scotland must support sustainable economic activity in the countryside and reflect the pivotal role that agriculture will play in securing its effective delivery.
Speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Environment Committee in Langholm today (Tuesday, 7 September), NFU Scotland welcomed the significant changes that have already been incorporated into the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill following the initial consultation.
As the remit of proposed Bill is broadened into other related areas, the Union has called on the legislators to ensure that consideration of the economic, environmental and social impact of the Bill on Scotland’s countryside remain a priority.
Speaking to the committee, NFU Scotland’s Head of Rural Policy Jonnie Hall said:
“It is wholly appropriate that agricultural land management, which dominates land use in Scotland, is given priority when shaping the new Bill. Scottish farming and farmers are, and continue to be, responsible for the majority of the environmental and wildlife management that takes place in the country.
“The original intention of the Bill was that it would support sustainable economic activity in the countryside by ensuring that the wildlife and natural environment legislation is efficient, effective and proportionate. Following the first round of consultation, we believe the Bill now offers a better package of measures that should protect wildlife and regulate the management of the natural environment and natural resources.
“While the intention behind the Bill may be entirely laudable, we are wary that ‘tidying up’ a range of outdated and disparate pieces of legislation may lead to unforeseen and adverse consequences for Scotland’s farming interests. Experience suggests that such an exercise can result in unanticipated consequences that may have an adverse or damaging impact on the economic, environmental and social fabric of rural Scotland. We are committed to working with the Scottish Parliament to ensure that, as the Bill take shape, it continues to take the views of those who manage Scotland’s land into consideration.”
- Note: The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Environment Committee met in Langholm today (Tuesday 7 September). The Committee was taking evidence from expert witnesses on the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill. The Bill proposes changes on a wide range of matters including deer management, invasive species control and game law. It also seeks to tighten the rules on the use of snares, streamline the licensing regime for the control of wild animals, change the dates on which managed heather burning can take place and create new offences relating to badgers.