I very much welcome the report from the wildlife crime penalties review group, which was chaired by Professor Mark Poustie. I have been considering the report’s 10 recommendations with colleagues from justice and other relevant areas. I have already written to Professor Poustie to thank him and the group for their diligence in producing such a thoughtful and helpful report and I will write to him again shortly with the Scottish Government’s formal response to the group’s recommendations. I will send a copy of that response to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee and it will be published on the Scottish Government’s web pages.
This week I visited a site where badger setts that are in use have been illegally disturbed by developers. What steps will the minister take to ensure that developers receive appropriate guidance, so that ignorance cannot be used as an excuse in cases of wanton destruction? How will the Government’s response to the wildlife crime penalties review group’s report help to protect badgers, enforce adherence to wildlife-related planning guidance and ensure that appropriate sentences are delivered in such cases?
The Scottish Government will actively consider what work will have to be undertaken before formal steps are taken to implement any of the recommendations in the Poustie report. Should there be a requirement to consult, that will be done. I am more than happy to write to Alison Johnstone on the detailed questions that she asked.