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Burnt moor - Marsden moor

Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill

The Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill was passed into law in March 2024.

The Bill was introduced primarily to address raptor persecution and ensure that the management of grouse moors and related activities “are undertaken in an environmentally sustainable and welfare conscious manner”. The Bill implements the recommendations of the independent review of grouse moor management (the Werritty Review of 2019)

According to the Scottish government the Bill “includes a range of measures that will help tackle raptor persecution, and ensure that the management of species on grouse moors is done so sustainably and with animal welfare as a priority.”

The Bill:

  • bans the practice of snaring in Scotland
  • bans the use of glue traps to catch rodents
  • gives greater powers to Scottish SPCA inspectors to tackle wildlife crime
  • introduces a new licensing framework for grouse moors
  • strictly regulates the use of muirburn, the controlled burning of vegetation on peatland

In The Heather and Grass etc. Burning (England) Regulations 2021

burning season” means

(a) in relation to land which is within an upland area, the period from 1st October in one year to 15th April in the following year, both dates inclusive; and
(b) in relation to land which is not within an upland area, the period from 1st November in one year to 31st March in the following year, both dates inclusive;

“designated site” means a site that is a

(a) European site within the meaning given by regulation 8(1) of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017(2);
(b) site of special scientific interest within the meaning of section 52(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981(3);

specified vegetation” means heather; rough grass; bracken; gorse; or vaccinium (a common and widespread genus of fruiting shrubs or dwarf shrubs in the heath family which includes common moorland plants like bilberry and lingonberry).

upland area” means all the land shown coloured pink on the map marked as “Map of Upland Area in England” held by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [and freely accessible via MAGIC] but does not include the land coloured pink in the Isles of Scilly.

The so-called ‘burning season’ in both England and Scotland runs from:

  • 1 October to 15 April in upland areas (severely disadvantaged areas) – you can find upland areas on MAGIC
  • In England in ‘other areas’ (ie areas not in the uplands) it runs from 1 November to 31 March.
  • Note that the season in Scotland can be extended to 30 April “with permission of the landowner”.

Yes (and are geared around allowing grouse shooting estates to continue moorland burning wherever possible).

According to the regulations, a person ‘must not burn specified vegetation on a designated site on peat that is a depth of more than 40cm‘, unless this is done under a licence issued by the Secretary of State, but the regulations do not apply to where specified vegetation is to be burned in one burning season in an area which:

  • has a slope of more than 35 degrees; or
  • where more than half or that area is covered by exposed rock or scree.


And:

  • is a single area of 0.5 hectares or less; or
  • is on 2 or more areas within 5 metres of each other with a combined area of 0.5 hectares or less.
 

In other words, landowners can still burn their moors if:

  •  the peat is shallow (less than 40cm)
  • the land isn’t within a designated conservation zone such as an SSSi.
  • if the land is very steep (on a slope of more than 35 degrees)
  • if more than half of the area is covered by exposed rock or scree
  • and even if their land is protected a landowner can still avoid the legislation by applying for a special licence.

Moorland burning (or muirburn) is a divisive issue.

Pro-shooting lobbyists claim that it is a traditional form of land management, that ‘controlled’ burning removes plant debris and cuts down the chance of wildlfires (which burn hotter and for longer), and burning is a ‘conservation’ tool  which not only benefits Red Grouse (by providing a mosaic of habitats that both younger and older grouse prefer) but other ground-nesting birds.

On the other hand, the government itself described upland peat bogs in a tweet as ‘England’s rainforests’ saying “they capture carbon, reduce flood risk, and are valuable habitats”; the RSPB said in December 2020 that new analysis showed that “burning of moorlands is the biggest threat to England’s most important places for wildlife [namely SSSis]”; and while postdating the regulations the IUCN said in its UK Peatland Programme Position Statement: Burning and Peatlands V.4 April 2023, “The overwhelming scientific evidence base points to burning on peatlands causing damage to key peatland species, peatland ecosystem health, and the sustainability of peatland soil”.

When unveiling the new regulations, the government said that it had reached consensus that grouse moor burning damages important peatland ecosystems and prevents them from being restored.

While obviously referring to the temperature of the burn itself, these two terms more importantly refer to the temperature reached below the soil surface and the potential for damage. A ‘cool burn’ is not supposed to damage underlying peat, whereas a ‘hot burn’ may ignite it.

In a ‘cool burn’ the fire passes quickly over the ground, burning above-ground vegetation but having little impact on the humus or litter layer that sits on top of the peat or on the sphagnum moss growing on the surface. The temperature at ground level remains low and there is little or no rise in temperature below the surface.

In a ‘hot burn’ the fire is slower moving so can cause more damage. ‘Hot burns’ are more likely when there is a large amount of dry plants to catch fire or the weather is hot and dry. ‘Hot burns’ deliver more heat to the ground for longer, igniting more plant material, and can result in damage to or ignition of the underlying peat. When that happens temperatures increase further and it becomes more difficult to control the fire.

Blanket bog, the deepest of peatland sites, is crucial in the UK’s fight against climate change, storing as much carbon as all the forests in the UK, Germany and France combined. Many of the concerns around the effects of heather burning focus on the impacts on blanket bog and its ability to store water and carbon.

Blanket bog is produced in areas with high rainfall and low temperatures, usually at high altitude on shallow gradients, with ground that is waterlogged for most of the year. Blanket bog is one of Scotland’s most common semi-natural habitats, covering some 1.8 million hectares – 23% of the land area – and the country holds a significant amount of the European and world total.

In England, blanket bog is defined by a minimum peat depth of 40cm, in Scotland this cut-off is 50cm.

Cosidering how serious the climate crisis is and the poor condition of so many blanket bogs the penalties are not significant. As a high-profile case in May 2023 proved, even when convicted the fines are paltry and hardly a disincentive for an industry that routinely charges multiple clients many thousands of pounds each to shoot Red Grouse.

The government says that anyone not following the rules can be:

  • sent a warning letter
  • given a caution
  • given an injunction
  • given a ‘burning notice’* requiring you to notify Natural England of any proposed burning of permitted vegetation for up to 2 years
  • prosecuted.
 

*An appeal against a burning notice must be made within 28 days.

Pro-shooting lobbyists claim there is little evidence that estates are burning moorland illegally, but from 1 October 2021 until 15 April 2022 (the first burning season since the legislation was introduced) the RSPB found evidence of 79 fires that it believes were in breach of the law, while Greenpeace identified 51 such fires out of a total of 251 incidents.

In a ‘ground breaking case’ in May 2023 Dunlin Ltd was fined for illegally burning Midhope Moors. Dunlin was proved to have applied for a licence, been refused, then burnt anyway (an entitled arrogance that for many has made the grouse shooting industry synonymous with crime).

Government advice (which was updated in 2021) says:

When burning you must:

  • start burning between sunrise and sunset
  • have enough people and equipment to control the burn
  • take all reasonable precautions to prevent injuring people
  • take all reasonable precautions to prevent damage to the surrounding land and anything on it

 

When burning you must not:

Applicants must apply:

  • 28 to 56 days before the burn if burning outside the burning season
  • at least 28 days before the burn and after the previous burning season, if burning in the burning season

The Moors for the Future Partnership was established in 2003 to protect damaged blanket bog habitats across the Peak District and South Pennines. It provides evidence-based conservation, backed up by innovative public engagement.

Moors for the Future Partnership is led by the Peak District National Park Authority. It receives financial support from the Environment Agency, National Trust, South Pennines Park, RSPB, Severn Trent, United Utilities, Yorkshire Water, and support and advice from Natural England, National Farmers Union, Heather Trust, Woodland Trust, ethical finance sector and the British Mountaineering Council.

The Partnership has raised over £45 million of public and private funding to deliver restoration over 34 square kilometres of bare and eroding peat and created 3 square kilometres of native clough woodlands.

The moorlands of the Peak District National Park are of global environmental importance, made up of a variety of different habitats, dominated by large expanses of blanket bog and upland heath. They also lie close to major population centres, attract enormous numbers of visitors, and burning there is a highly contentious issue.

However, Rewilding Britain found that driven grouse moors cover 21% of the Peak District, and as the Park authority rather apologetically explains, “Heather burning is a legal activity over which the National Park Authority has no jurisdiction, other than on the limited areas of land that we own. Our own landholdings represent less than 5% of land within the National Park boundary, and burning has not been used as a management tool on our own land for some years. We therefore have no statutory powers to control or regulate heather burning within the wider National Park.”

 

As of early 2023 the Scottish Parliament is at Stage 1 scrutiny of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill which will set “rules around the making of muirburn (the controlled burning of heather and other plants for land management purposes)”.

Currently the principal legislation governing muirburn is the Hill Farming Act 1946. It is supplemented by the Muirburn Code which sets out both the law and good practice relating to muirburn.

The Code aims to ensure that when muirburn is carried out, it:

  • is in the right place
  • avoids damage to sensitive habitats and ecosystem services
  • doesn’t lead to wildfire


The standard muirburn season runs from 1 October to 15 April inclusive in Scotland. This is mainly to avoid harm to the many moorland birds that nest in spring as well as reptiles coming out of hibernation. An extension to 30 April can be given in exceptional circumstances and with the landowner’s permission.

As in England and Scotland, management of moorland vegetation is addressed by a combination of statutory regulation and a voluntary code: the Heather and Grass Burning Code for Wales 2008 (Welsh Assembly Government, 2008) and Heather and Grass etc. Burning (Wales) Regulations 2008 (Welsh Assembly Government, 2008) which  control the burning of heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse and Vaccinium (bilberry). They do not apply to private gardens or allotment gardens.

The burning season is from 01 October – 31 March in upland areas (defined as land in the Severely Disadvantaged Area of the Less Favoured Area) and 01 November – 15 March elsewhere.

Any person who contravenes any provision of the Burning Regulations commits an offence under section 20(2) of the Hill Farming Act 1946. Offenders may be liable to a fine not exceeding £1,000.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations and responsible for the globally-recognised Red List of Threatened Species – published a Peatland Programme Position Statement: Burning and Peatlands V.4 in April 2023.

The IUCN states that:

 

Their position paper says:

  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) UK Peatland Programme reaffirms that, while there are some dissenting voices, the IUCN UK PP remains committed to the broad consensus of the science arrived at by the majority of acknowledged peatland specialists. Key points, which are addressed in our full position statement (originally produced in 2017, updated in 2020, 2021, and 2023) include: 
  1. The overwhelming scientific evidence base points to burning on peatlands causing damage to key peatland species, peatland ecosystem health, and the sustainability of peatland soils. 
  2. Burning vegetation on peatland brings no benefits to peatland health or sustainability.
  3. Evidence points to peatland restoration management not requiring burning; burning is harmful to the prospects of peatland restoration. 
  4. Misleading interpretations of some scientific work point to methodological inconsistencies in defining peatlands and assessing impacts of burning management; there is no evidence that peatland ecosystem health in the UK benefits from burning. 
  5. The most effective long-term sustainable solution for addressing wildfire risk on peatlands is to return the sites to fully functioning bog habitat by removing those factors that can cause degradation, such as drainage, unsustainable livestock management and burning regimes. Rewetting and restoring will naturally remove the higher fuel load from degraded peatland vegetation. 
  6. Further research and good practice guidance is required for managing wildfire risk on peatlands. 

Not all moorland fires are illegal, and thanks to the numerous exemptions in the regulations given to grouse shooting estates it is very difficult indeed for a casual observer to know with any certainty when a moorland has been set on fire illegally – unless it is taking place on a site where it is totally banned (eg the National Trust’s Marsden Moor).

This is why organisations like the RSPB and the Moorland Monitors ask for all fires to be reported.

On their Be Moor Aware page, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services give the following advice to help protect the wildlife and moors:

  1. Clear up and take your rubbish home after picnics
  2. Observe all signs and notices – they are there for a reason
  3. Follow the National Trust Countryside Code
  4. Don’t leave glass bottles. Not only can they hurt people and animals, but they can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire
  5. Never throw lighted cigarette ends onto the ground, or out of the window of vehicles or trains. Always ensure that they are completely extinguished and disposed of responsibly.
  6. Never be tempted to light a fire in the countryside and only barbecue in authorised areas
  7. And remember, if you see a fire or someone using a BBQ on the moorland – call 999 and ask for FIRE.

 

MAGIC is an interactive mapping system launched in 2002, and is an acronym for Multi-Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside.

The MAGIC website provides authoritative geographic information about the natural environment from across government. The information covers rural, urban, coastal and marine environments across Great Britain. It is presented in a layered, interactive map which can be explored using various mapping tools that are included.

MAGIC allows users to draw a polygon and perform a site check which will then list any designations within that area. It will also perform a point check and has tools so that users can draw or write on a map and print it off.

Natural England manages the service under the direction of a Steering Group who represent the MAGIC partnership organisations.

Wildlife crime is defined as any action which contravenes current legislation governing the protection of the UK’s wild flora and fauna, including species traded in the UK.

Note that wildlife crime does NOT include:

  • Incidents involving domestic or companion animals such as dogs (other than dogs being used to hunt mammals), cats, rabbits, domesticated birds, etc.
  • Wild animals that have been involved (killed or injured etc) in road traffic accidents.

Road accidents with wild animals do not need to be reported to the police, but note that domestic animals (as well as goats, horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep and pigs) come within the remit of the Road Traffic Act.
If you have a road accident involving these animals you are required by law to report it to the police. If the wild animal is so badly injured in a road accident that there is no chance of recovery or the animal can not be returned to the wild then he or she may be euthanised, providing there is no appropriate long-term captive or semi-captive accommodation or when treatment would involve undue suffering or distress.

If we come across a wildlife crime scene or a dead bird/object that may be related to a wildlife crime every piece of information is – or might be – important, but it needs to be recorded properly and accurately for the authorities to have a chance of prosecuting an offender.

  • Before we do anything else it is very important that we do NOT approach anyone we suspect of committing a crime – they may be violent and/or aggressive. This is especially true of badger baiters and hare coursers who are typically extremely violent. This must be a first priority!
 
What do we need to record?
  • What we can see happening – what sort of crime is being committed
  • Are any firearms involved, could we or the public be in danger?
  • The exact location. Most smartphones have map apps or download the free What3Words app. If in open countryside look for obvious landmarks or fence lines, a tall or isolated tree, a wind turbine, any streams or brooks etc. Think about what would you need to re find a remote location.
  • It is important to record if at all possible whether we are on or near public land as this will determine the type of police response.
  • Never put ourselves in danger, but can we see who is involved and what they look like (e.g. number of people, their gender(s), age(s), the clothing worn, tools being carried)? Can we hear them – if so what are they saying, are they using any names etc?
  • If any dogs are involved how many are there, what colour are they, do we know what breed they are (even information like ‘terriers’ or ‘lurcher-types’ can be very useful).
  • The make, colour and registration number of any vehicle (we can take photos of a car if we think it is being used or might be used to commit a crime). Does it have any obvious dents, branding or markings, spotlights, bullbars etc.

 

DO and DO NOT

  • Do NOT disturb the scene by walking around unnecessarily – small pieces of evidence (cigarette ends, footprints, the marks left by a spade etc) may be lost or trampled into the mud or grass.
  • If photographing an object do try to use eg a coin or a notebook/field guide for scale – providing it won’t disturb the crime scene.
  • If in the countryside take wide angle photographs of any landmarks (a tree, a distinctive fenceline, a hill) that might help officers relocate the crime scene. DO NOT mark a site with eg a white plastic bag though. Being able to see a marker from a distance might sound like a good idea, but it will also alert an offender that someone has been at the site: they may go back and remove the evidence
  • Do NOT move any items at the scene – the exception being if they are likely to disappear before the police arrive when we can collect them as evidence.
  • Do NOT touch any dead birds or animals with bare hands. They may be poisoned baits or victims of poisoning. Many poisons (eg Carbofuran) are extremely dangerous in even very small amounts and can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Do NOT do anything illegal ourselves – that might mean our evidence is not admissible.
If we see a wildlife crime taking place (or someone is at risk of getting injured or is being threatened) call 999 immediately.
They will want to know what we can see happening:
  • What sort of crime is being committed
  • Are any firearms involved
  • Could we or the public be in danger
  • Do we have photos or video footage which may be used as evidence
  • Tell whoever you REPORT the crime to exactly what you have RECORDED as described in the section above.
 
To report a historic crime – that is, a crime that is no longer taking place – use 101 or a local organisation instead.
  • If calling the police ask to speak to a Wildlife Crime Officer and make sure to get an Incident Report number.
  • Please always follow any advice given and – if they are not available – insist that a Wildlife Crime Officer is made aware of your report.
  •  Our options are wider if the event is over, and it may be preferable to talk first to a charity or NGO to get advice. Crimestoppers (an independent charity) can be contacted in complete confidence on 0800 555 111
  • When thinking about reporting a crime it’s worth noting that only the police have statutory powers to make an arrest. RSPCA and RSPB investigation officers work with the police for successful prosecutions.
 
Reporting a wildlife crime (or even a suspected wildlife crime) is important for two reasons.
  • If the event is still happening it may enable the authorities to catch the criminals ‘in the act’ (which means a higher chance of prosecution),
  • and if the event is over a report can still help to build up a more accurate picture of what might be happening in a specific location or across the country as a whole.

Fire can cause serious damage so please report out-of-control moorland fires to the emergency services on 999.

Other organisations are collating reports of moorland fires to understand how frequent they are and to determine whether they are taking place on protected sites.

The RSPB, for example, has developed an App to collect and report sightings on the move or reports can be made on their website later.

They are asking for information collected during the current burning season and need to know:

  • The location of the burn
  • The date of the burn
  • Whether it was an active or recent burn (An active burn is on fire now with smoke and maybe flames. A recent burn from the current burning season has blackened vegetation, smells of burning and will blacken boots and clothes if you walk through it. There are no new green shoots of vegetation regrowth.)
  • A photograph of the burn (very useful but not essential)
Our help is always welcomed
  • Whoever we decide to contact we have been assured that our help is welcomed and that if we’re in any doubt that what we’re seeing is a crime we should report it anyway. Remember, if what we see ‘feels’ wrong, it probably is!
  • Even if we’re not sure about what we’re seeing, we can take a photograph and email it to the police or an investigations officer – they are trained to quickly recognise for example when a snare is illegally placed, whether a trap is being used illegally, or whether a crime is being committed or not.
  • We may help stop or solve future crimes by helping build up a pattern of behaviour in an area.

Have you ever wondered what UK law says about hunting with dogs, shooting, or collecting bird eggs? Or what protection foxes, badgers, bats, and birds of prey have? Whether a gamekeeper is using a snare, spring trap, or a cage trap legally? Wanted to know more about operating drones, using airguns, or driving quad bikes legally? What the different forms of trespass are, what constitutes assault, or what we should do if we’re arrested?

And have you ever been unimpressed with having to search hunting and shooting websites to find some of the information you need?

Us too! Which is why we have developed ‘Protectors of the Wild‘ and laid out the information we need in over thirty simple, mobile-friendly pages just like this one.

Protectors of the Wild‘ is a free resource to help us all become ‘eyes in the field’ by learning how to recognise, record, and report wildlife crime and wildlife persecution.

After all, the more we know, the more any potential criminal will have to be looking over their shoulder wondering if we know enough to Recognise, Record, and Report what they’re up to.

And the more we can all do to help protect the wild.

Have you ever wondered what UK law says about hunting with dogs, shooting, or collecting bird eggs? Or what protection foxes, badgers, bats, and birds of prey have? Whether a gamekeeper is using a snare, spring trap, or a cage trap legally? Wanted to know more about operating drones, using airguns, or driving quad bikes legally? What the different forms of trespass are, what constitutes assault or harassment, or what we should do if we’re stopped and searched or even arrested?

And have you ever been unimpressed with having to search hunting and shooting websites to find some of the information you need?

Us too! Which is why we have developed ‘Protectors of the Wild‘ and laid out the information we need in forty-one simple, mobile-friendly pages and over 500 FAQs just like this one.

Protectors of the Wild‘ is a free resource with two aims: to help us all become ‘eyes in the field’ by learning how to recognise, record, and report wildlife crime and wildlife persecution; and to provide a ‘quick guide’ to anyone interacting with hunts, hunt supporters, or the police.

After all, the more we know, the more any potential criminal will have to be looking over their shoulder wondering if we know enough to Recognise, Record, and Report what they’re up to, and the more we know our rights the better we can protect ourselves.

And the more we can all do to help protect the wild.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit currently has seven priority offences for wildlife crime.

Badger persecution

It is illegal to interfere with or block a badger’s home or ‘sett’. Badger baiting is a centuries-old now illegal blood sport, where small dogs such as terriers or lurchers seek badgers out of their setts before fighting and killing them.

Bat persecution

Bats and their homes are legally protected, so disturbing or removing them is an offence. If bats roost in your roof, you need to obtain a special ‘bat mitigation licence’ from Natural England to be allowed to disturb them. They are hugely important to our ecosystem.

Trade of endangered species

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) sets out which endangered animals and plants have protected status. It is illegal to remove any of them from their natural habitat, possess, or sell them. Currently, the top priorities are European eels, birds of prey, ivory, medicinal and health products, reptiles, rhino horns, and timber.

Freshwater pearl mussel offences

These Endangered mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) are only found in rivers in Scotland and small parts of England. They can live for more than 130 years but are extremely sensitive to water pollution and have been illegally farmed for years. It is illegal to damage or destroy their habitat or to take, injure or kill them.

Poaching

Fox, deer, and hare hunting are all illegal under the Hunting Act 2004. Poaching offences also cover illegal fishing – when anglers do not obtain a licence or remove protected fish from lakes and rivers without returning them.

Raptor persecution

Birds of prey are often targeted on shooting estates. Their eggs are also traded illegally. It is an offence to target, poison, or kill them, with a particular focus on Golden Sagles, Goshawks, Hen Harriers, Peregrines, Red Kites, and White-tailed Eagles. Disturbing or taking their eggs or chicks is also illegal.

Cyber-enabled wildlife crime

Social media is often used to promote wildlife crime and recruit people to take part in it. Endangered plants and animals are also traded illegally online.

  • Punishment must fit the crime. Conditional discharges and paltry fines are not a disincentive for criminals.

A common complaint is that even if wildlife criminals are brought to court the fines or sentences they get are pathetic and not a disincentive. In most cases judges are giving out the penalties they are allowed to under the law. Changes can be made though. In 2022 the maximum sentence for ‘causing uneccesary suffering’ went from six months to five years. That was the result of targeted public pressure and campaigning. We need to identify where changes should be made and push hard for them.

 

  • Wildlife crime must be notifiable and statistics accurately compiled so that resources can be properly targeted.

Police forces are required by law to inform the Home Office of any notifiable offences, which then uses the reports to compile the crime statistics known as ‘recorded crime’. Currently, wildlife crimes are not ‘notifiable’ though (and wildlife crime involving firearms are also not recorded as firearms offences by the Police).  Without them being notifiable, no one knows how many wildlife crimes are being committed across the UK and where the hotspots are (though ‘grouse moors’ is one obvious response). As we have stated many times on this website, law and legislative enforcement is hugely underfunded and under-resourced. Some of this has undoubtedly been through political choice, but if we at least know which crimes are being committed and where, the resources that are available can be placed where they are needed most.

 

  • There must be changes to make it far easier for all of us to play our part in ‘Recognising, Reporting, Recording’ wildlife cime.

As even a quick glance at the Protectors pages makes clear, laws protecting wildlife are hard to understand. Major pieces of legislation like the Hunting Act 2004  and other laws are riddled with exemptions which strongly favour the hunting, shooting, and agricultural industries. Some date from a century or more ago and don’t reflect the modern world. These need to be updated. While there has undoubtedly been efforts made by successive governmants to use ‘plain english’ to explain legislation, any government wanting to tackle wildlife crime needs to make understanding what is and what isn’t a crime far more easily understood and put resources into a reporting system that the public feel confident using. Crucially, the public need to be sure that if they do report a crime it will be acted upon.

 

  • We have to protect the environment and wildlife properly.

Laws protecting wildlife and the environment need to be revised to reflect the 21st century and the biodiversity and climate crises we are in. Animals (and plants) are not an add-on or a ‘nice to have’ – they have shaped the systems that life depends on, and our laws need to reflect how critically important they are.

 

If you’d like to support just one legislative change, Protect the Wild has launched ‘The Hunting of Mammals Bill: A Proper Ban on Hunting‘ – please sign our petition calling for a proper ban on hunting with dogs.

We would like Protectors of the Wild to be the ‘go to’ free resource, packed with the kind of information that really does help all of us become ‘eyes in the field. But we can’t possibly think of every question that might need answering or every situation someone might find themselves in! And while the information in these pages is largely taken from Government online advice and was compiled in 2023 (and constantlyy updated), perhaps we’ve missed something out.

If you could provide us with legal advice get in touch. Or if you find a mistake or a gap please let us know. That way we can continually improve Protectors of the Wild – for the benefit of animals and all of us. Thanks.

‘Protectors of the Wild’ is a project of Protect the Wild. We have a dedicated email address for anyone wishing to get in touch with a specific Protectors query or with additional information etc. Please use the form on our Contact Protectors page or email protectors@protectthewild.org.uk. Thank you.

Much of the information we give in these pages is very technical or to do with legislation which can be revised without much notice. While we have worked very hard on these pages and we take keeping our information accurate and up-to-date very seriously, Protect the Wild are not legal professionals. Just to make sure no-one thinks we’re offering professional legal advice, we feel obliged to include the following disclaimer on every page.

  • Please think of the ‘Protectors of the Wild’ pages as a ‘first stop’ before seeking legal advice. We provide detailed information but not professional advice. The information provided by Protect the Wild should NOT be considered or relied on as legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. Any of the material on our website may be out of date at any given time, and we are under no legal obligation to update such material. While we update and revise as often as we can, Protect the Wild assumes no responsibility for the accuracy and correctness of any information, or for any consequences of relying on it. Please do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional legal advice.