Shooting restrictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland due to cold weather.
From 00.01am on Tuesday 5th of January it will become illegal to shoot ducks; including reared mallard; geese, woodcock, snipe and golden plover in Scotland. A similar suspension takes effect tomorrow in Northern Ireland.

The suspension could last for up to two weeks, but should be reviewed after seven days if there is an improvement in conditions.

The last such suspension was in January 1997 and covered the whole of Great Britain. The last suspension in Scotland alone was in 1993.

A legal suspension of the shooting of waterfowl is to be introduced for the first time in Northern Ireland because of the severe winter weather. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency plans to bring in a temporary suspension of the shooting of ducks, geese and waders for at least seven days starting on Wednesday 6th January to allow the birds to see out the cold snap. Shooters are being advised to exercise voluntary restraint until the suspension begins.

Dr Colin Shedden, director of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) in Scotland, said: “The legal suspension of the shooting of wildfowl and wading birds is applied in order to offer extra protection when an extended period of severe weather is likely to disrupt the birds’ feeding and roosting patterns. Hunters in Scotland have been under advice to exercise extra restraint in shooting these birds since Boxing Day.”

Following agreed criteria, Scotland’s Minister for Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, on Monday 4th January signed an order under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which will bring the suspension into force from the 5th of January.

The legal suspension is introduced on the fifteenth day of severe weather, according to data collected at coastal weather stations by the Meteorological Office.

In England and Wales it is possible that the continuing cold weather will lead to a call for voluntary restraint in the shooting of ducks such as reared mallard, geese and wading birds including woodcock by the end of this week.

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