Press Release

Environment Committee says Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill must have greater impact

Session: 2009/2010

Date: Friday, 16 April 2010

Reference: ENV 08/09/10

The Assembly Committee for the Environment, led by its new Chair Cathal Boylan, MLA, today finalised its report to the Department of Environment on the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill. The Committee report recommends that the wording of the Bill be much stronger and require public bodies to ‘maintain and protect’ the environment rather than just conserve it.

Last month the Committee announced its decision to recommend a total ban on use of all snares as part of its report.

Cathal Boylan MLA, said today: “The Committee has received many briefings and taken evidence from a wide range of stakeholders. This has led us to form the view that some of the measures in the Department’s draft Bill do not go far enough.

“In our report we have identified areas where the Committee believes the Department needs to take greater responsibility. For example producing guidance to local authorities on their responsibilities to protect biodiversity; and that it should report on its implementation of the biodiversity strategy at least every five years, rather than ‘from time to time’ as proposed.

“ We urge the Department to accept these recommendations and amend the Bill accordingly. It is the Committee’s view that by further strengthening the Bill we will be better placed to protect our wildlife and environment for generations to come.”

The Committee’s report will now be submitted to the Department and the Committee will lodge any amendments it wants included in the Bill when the Department brings it back to the Assembly for consideration by all MLAs. The Committee’s report will be available on the website, or on request from the Committee Clerk, from 20 April 2010.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Committee’s report on the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill includes the following recommendations:

  • the wording of the Bill is made stronger  - requiring public bodies to ‘maintain and protect’ the environment rather than just conserve it
  • the Department must produce guidance to local authorities on their new responsibilities to protect biodiversity
  • the Department should be required to report on implementation of the biodiversity strategy at least every 5 years, rather than ‘from time to time’
  • the nest of the red kite, the osprey, the white-tailed eagle, the peregrine and the barn owl should be protected by law
  • seals as well as basking sharks should be protected from disturbance
  • shooting deer from a vehicle should not be allowed
  • the close season for deer should be shortened (as proposed by the department), but by shortening it in spring rather than autumn
  • the curlew and golden plover should be removed from the game bird species list added to the protected bird list  
  • there should be no new birds added to the list of wild bird allowed to be kept in captivity for competitive purposes
  • the reed bunting, twite and yellowhammer should be removed from the existing list above
  • special protection orders should include ‘possession’ as an offence
Committee Membership:

Mr. Cathal Boylan (Chairperson)
Mr. Dominic Bradley (Deputy Chair)
Mr. Roy Beggs
Mr. Jonathan Bell
Mr. John Dallat
Mr. Danny Kinahan
Mr. Ian McCrea
Mr. Daithi McKay
Mr. Alastair Ross
Mr. Peter Weir
Mr. Brian Wilson

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