Monday, 4 March 2013

Scotland: identification of snares

On April 1st 2013, the final piece of snaring legislation laid down by the W&NE Act (Scotland) 2011 comes into effect.  After months of uncertainty, it seems that there is finally a concrete idea of how this legislation will be enforced, particularly insofar as how it relates to identifying the operator of every snare in Scotland.

Anyone who has taken a snaring accreditation course over the past two years will have noticed several grey areas surrounding the precise nature of identifying snares with the use of tags. Nobody knew what the precise tag specifications were going to be, and not even knowing what a snaring ID number might look like, it has been tricky to plan ahead.

As it turns out, the police have decided that there will be no specific requirements from a snare tag other than that it should be securely attached to the snare and that it should be easily legible. This therefore allows the use of everything from laminated plastic discs to copper tags. There is still some confusion as to the precise nature of the ID number, so while it has been apparent for some time that snares will need to be marked with a letter indicating the target species, there are still conflicting rumours going around relating to the ID number itself and how it will be made up. What is certain is that snaring applications are being processed by Strathclyde police force at their Pitt Street headquarters in Glasgow.

Waiting times for ID numbers are still very uncertain, and they may take up to a month. Anyone who has not got an ID number will have to pull their snares on the night of the 31st March and leave them unset until tags can be organised and set up. It is impossible to apply for an ID number without a snaring certificate from an approved body, and last minute courses are now being run by the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association and the GWCT.

For up-to-date guidance on snaring legislation in Scotland as it now stands, see the latest version of the Snaring Leaflet that was updated December 2012.  The Trust is a supporting organisation for this guide.

Thanks to Patrick Laurie for the text in this post

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