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Nature Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of an increase in the number of thefts of endangered plant species, whether they have any plans to stregthen the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government takes all crime seriously and there are strong penalties in place for those found guilty of offences committed against wild plants and animals.

Wild plants are protected under section 13 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, with additional protection afforded to wild plants listed on Schedule 8.

Where there is evidence to suggest that illegal activity is occurring, we encourage all relevant authorities to ensure that sufficiently robust action is taken. Enforcement of all offences, however, including those against wild plants, is an operational matter for the police.

Those found guilty of offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 already face strong sanctions, including an unlimited fine and imprisonment. We have no plans to alter these sanctions. Decisions on sentencing in individual cases are taken independently of Government.

There are currently no plans to review the relevant provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

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