Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) announced new guidance on 8 May that will help land managers in Scotland apply for licences to control protected predators such as buzzards, ravens, sparrowhawks and pine martens. Control measures can include shooting under licence where required.

This follows a lengthy campaign by the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA), BASC Scotland, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The long-awaited guidance provides advice to land managers on the circumstances and type of evidence required before licences can be issued by SNH to control predators which are having a negative impact on wild birds such as upland waders and blackgrouse. Before an individual licence can be issued, SNH needs to be satisfi ed that a cause and effect link exists between predation and signifi cant declines in the population of other species.

SNH’s Ron Macdonald commented: “SNH recognises that some predatory species can affect populations of wild birds. Where these are directly responsible for key declines in wild bird populations and where there is a real conservation need to do so, we accept that predators may need to be managed or controlled under licence.”

The rest of this article appears in 14 May issue of Shooting Times.

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