Birds of Prey: Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 11th January 2018.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on preventing the persecution of raptors.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which provides a powerful framework for the conservation of wild birds, their eggs, nests and habitats. The Government is committed to ensuring the protection afforded to wild birds of prey is effectively enforced. There are strong penalties for offenders, including imprisonment.

Raptor persecution is one of six national wildlife crime priorities. Each wildlife crime priority has a delivery group to consider what action should be taken and develop a plan to prevent crime, gather intelligence on offences and enforce against them. The Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG) focuses on the golden eagle, goshawk, hen harrier, peregrine, red kite and white tailed eagle.

The RPPDG has recently produced raptor persecution maps, which show the distribution of confirmed incidents of raptor persecution including shootings, trappings, poisonings and nest destruction across England and Wales over a five year period (2011-2015). The maps will be a significant intelligence tool to tackle wildlife crime; they will help the police gain a better understanding of where the problem areas are, and target these crime hotspots with increased levels of enforcement. The maps can be viewed at: http://www.magic.gov.uk/

The National Wildlife Crime Unit, which is part funded by Defra, monitors and gathers intelligence on illegal activities affecting birds of prey and provides assistance to police forces when required.

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