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Caithness News Bulletins February 2004

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Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands has called on the Scottish Executive to review the game laws. This follows EU legal action against the UK for failing to ensure sufficient protection for black grouse, ptarmigan, red grouse and partridge.

He said...
"Wild birds are protected by Scottish, UK and European laws.  However game birds are currently excluded yet the native black grouse has declined by 50% over ten years and ptarmigan is threatened by climate change. I have asked the Scottish Executive what action it is taking as most of the UK numbers are resident in Scotland."

"The archaic Game Laws first passed in the early 19th century still preclude game birds such as black grouse, ptarmigan, red grouse and partridge from full legal protection."

The legal protection regime needs to be extended to cover game birds without threatening well-managed shooting for example, wildfowling. But the Game Laws need abolition as they perpetuate the privilege of shooting estates to lord it over countryside users and fail to protect several of our native species.

"The EU case against the UK should be a call to action by the Scottish Executive if the self-proclaimed policy green strand is for real."

Written questions lodged  by Rob Gibson At the Scottish Parliament
S2W-6028 Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking as a result of the action being taken by the European Commission against the UK over failures to ensure sufficient protection of wild birds, in so far as these affect Scotland.

S2W-6029 Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it plans to classify black grouse, ptarmigan, red grouse and partridge, as protected species of wild birds, as defined by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

S2W-6030 Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Executive what information it has in respect of the decline in numbers of black grouse and ptarmigan.

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