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Schedule 5 - Enforcement powers in connection with wildlife

Part of Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon Labour, Bridgend 6:30 pm, 28th June 2005

I, too, support the amendment. It seems nonsense that prior to an offence being committed, police can enter land only with the landowner’s permission, even if the crime may be well under way. The police do not have the opportunity to move in until after the act. It must be remembered that wildlife crime can take place on private land far away from a road. One should not have to stand on a hillside far away with a set of binoculars. It is ridiculous to suggest that we position officers so that they can check what is happening from far away, or that we will have to find the landowner before the officers can get on to the land if they suspect that an offence is being committed.

The destruction of trees has been a particular problem in my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Chaytor). Before a planning application is submitted, trees are moved, ponds are filled in and events occur that damage the habitat, thereby endangering and even killing certain species, and nothing can be done   because the police officer cannot get hold of the landowner or gain access to the land until the offence has been committed.

I hope that the Minister will listen to the debate on the amendment and take note of it.