West Sussex County Council has banned snaring without holding a consultation and despite having had no complaints about snare use.

BASC has criticised West Sussex County Council’s decision to introduce a snaring ban without holding a consultation first and accused it of breaching the Regulators’ Code.

The council introduced a prohibition on the use of snares by tenants on all of its land following the tabling of a motion by Councillor Francis Oppler. But the council has admitted that it had not considered any evidence relating to snaring nor received any specific complaints about snare use before introducing the ban.

Breach of code

BASC has contacted council chief executive Nathan Elvery to outline its concerns. The organisation highlighted that the Regulators’ Code requires regulations to be focused on addressing a particular problem, which this, it said, does not.

In a letter to Mr Elvery, Dan Reynolds, director of BASC South-East, said: “It appears that in formulating and implementing the policy the council has failed to meet its duty under the Regulators’ Code. On questioning this issue, your officers have not been able to demonstrate how this duty has been met.

“The policy bans an otherwise lawful activity, which is governed by legislation and a Government-approved code of best practice. No evidence for the policy decision is presented by the council; indeed the policy document says the council ‘has no evidence in relation to the use of snares on its land and has not received any specific complaints in relation to such use’.”

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Important tool

Ian Grindy, chair of BASC’s game and gamekeeping committee, added: “It would appear that West Sussex County Council has not shown due diligence in taking this decision to ban legal snares.

“Snares are an important tool for the legal and humane control of pest species such as foxes. Their use is essential to limiting loss of livestock, poultry and waterfowl through predation, something that can have significant financial impact on small farm businesses and small holdings.

“Furthermore, fox predation has a significant negative impact on other wildlife, including lapwing, grey partridges and other ground-nesting birds, many of which are currently undergoing population declines.”