Government project to cut through the bureaucracy of environmental regulations has proposed lifting restrictions on wildfowling in some parts of the country.

DEFRA?s Red Tape Challenge recommends that restrictions on wildfowling on Sundays should be replaced with a ?non-regulatory mechanism? in certain counties, including Somerset, Cornwall and Norfolk.

A DEFRA spokesman said: ?It is likely that these orders were introduced because of Sunday observance. There is considered to be little conservation benefit.?

By scrapping 35 out-of-date regulations concerning wildlife management and the countryside, and ?improving? another 69, DEFRA says that it will be possible to simplify the regulatory landscape without reducing environmental protections or access.

Also among its proposals are improvements to laws concerning spring traps, bird ringing and the importation and keeping of muskrats, non-indigenous rabbits and coypu.

Regulations regarding the keeping of mink, which date from the 1970s and which have no effect on animals currently kept under licence in England, would be scrapped.

Environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, said: ?I want to be very clear that this is not about rolling back environmental safeguards, nor is it just about cutting regulation to stimulate growth. This was about getting better rules, not weaker ones.?

?The results of the Red Tape Challenge will be good for the environment and good for business.?

A separate DEFRA review into the way wildlife protection rules, known as the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives, are being applied in England, also announced last week, has concluded that the rules work well to protect nature, and do not put a break on economic growth.