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Wildlife laws “too complicated” says Environmental Audit Committee

Environmental Audit Committee report claims there is a lack of consistency in courts due to complicated legislation.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) says the body of legislation relating to wildlife crime should be consolidated ?in order to enhance enforcement and establish a coherent framework for the execution of Government policy?.

EAC chair, Joan Walley, said complex wildlife law was causing prosecutions to fail, with specialist enforcement professionals struggling to implement it effectively: ?Police officers dealing with wildlife crime are having to wrestle with legal arrangements that are almost Pythonesque in their absurdity,? she said.

?Wildlife protection law in the UK is in a mess after being patched up too many times in an effort to keep pace with offending. The law needs to be consolidated and the courts need to be given clear sentencing guidelines.?

The Law Commission is currently consulting on placing wildlife laws into a single statute, and the report recommends that the Government should consult with the body before coming to any decisions on reform.

The report also recommends that sentences for those who persecute birds of prey should be increased, as the current law ?appears to carry insufficient deterrent weight?.

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