Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (c. 69)
1981 c. 69 - continued

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Prohibition of certain methods of killing or taking wild birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1954 c. 30.


        5.—(1)  Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

     (a)  sets in position any of the following articles, being an article which is of such a nature and is so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild bird coming into contact therewith, that is to say, any springe, trap, gin, snare, hook and line, any electrical device for killing, stunning or frightening or any poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substance ;
     (b)  uses for the purpose of killing or taking any wild bird any such article as aforesaid, whether or not of such a nature and so placed as aforesaid, or any net, baited board, bird-lime or substance of a like nature to bird­lime ;

    (c)  uses for the purpose of killing or taking any wild bird—

       (i)   any bow or crossbow;
       (ii)   any explosive other than ammunition for a firearm;
       (iii)   any automatic or semi-automatic weapon;
       (iv)   any shot-gun of which the barrel has an internal diameter at the muzzle of more than one and three-quarter inches;
       (v)   any device for illuminating a target or any sighting device for night shooting;
       (vi)    any form of artificial lighting or any mirror or other dazzling device;
       (vii)    any gas or smoke not falling within paragraphs (a) and (b); or
       (viii)    any chemical wetting agent;

    (d)  uses as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any wild bird, any sound recording or any live bird or other animal whatever which is tethered, or which is secured by means of braces or other similar appliances, or which is blind, maimed or injured; or

    (e)  uses any mechanically propelled vehicle in immediate pursuit of a wild bird for the purpose of killing or taking that bird.

he shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a special penalty.

    (2) Subject to subsection (3), the Secretary of State may by order, either generally or in relation to any kind of wild bird specified in the order, amend subsection (1) by adding any method of killing or taking wild birds or by omitting any such method which is mentioned in that subsection.

    (3) The power conferred by subsection (2) shall not be exerciseable, except for the purpose of complying with an international obligation, in relation to any method of killing or taking wild birds which involves the use of a firearm.

    (4) In any proceedings under subsection (1) (a) it shall be a defence to show that the article was set in position for the purpose of killing or taking, in the interests of public health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries or nature conservation, any wild animals which could be lawfully killed or taken by those means and that he took all reasonable precautions to prevent injury thereby to wild birds.

    (5) Nothing in subsection (1) shall make unlawful—

    (a)  the use of a cage-trap or net by an authorised person for the purpose of taking a bird included in Part II of Scheduled;

    (b)  the use of nets for the purpose of taking wild duck in a duck decoy which is shown to have been in use immediately before the passing of the Protection of Birds Act 1954; or

    (c)  the use of a cage-trap or net for the purpose of taking any game bird if it is shown that the taking of the bird is solely for the purpose of breeding;

but nothing in this subsection shall make lawful the use of any net for taking birds in flight or the use for taking birds on the ground of any net which is projected or propelled otherwise than by hand.


Sale etc. of live or dead wild birds, eggs etc.


        6. —(1)  Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

    (a)  sells, offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession or transports for the purpose of sale, any live wild bird other than a bird included in Part I of Schedule 3, or an egg of a wild bird or any part of such an egg; or
    (b)  publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that he buys or sells, or intends to buy or sell, any of those things, he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (2) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person who is not for the time being registered in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State—

    (a)  sells, offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession or transports for the purpose of sale, any dead wild bird other than a bird included in Part II or III of Schedule 3, or any part of, or anything derived from, such a wild bird; or

    (b)  publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that he buys or sells, or intends to buy or sell, any of those things, he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (3) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person shows or causes or permits to be shown for the purposes of any competition or in any premises in which a competition is being held—

    (a)  any live wild bird other than a bird included in Part I of Schedule 3 ; or

    (b)  any live bird one of whose parents was such a wild bird, he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (4)  Any person convicted of an offence under this section in respect of—

    (a)  a bird included in Schedule 1 or any part of. or anything derived from, such a bird; or

    (b)  an egg of such bird or any part of such an egg, shall be liable to a special penalty.

    (5)  Any reference in this section to any bird included in Part I of Schedule 3 is a reference to any bird included in that Part which was bred in captivity and has been ringed or marked in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State; and regulations so made may make different provision for different birds or different provisions of this section.

    (6)  Any reference in this section to any bird included in Part II or III of Schedule 3 is a reference to any bird included in Part n and, during the period commencing with 1st September in any year and ending with 28th February of the following year, any bird included in Part III of that Schedule.

    (7)  The power of the Secretary of State to make regulations under subsection (2) shall include power—

    (a)  to impose requirements as to the carrying out by a person registered in accordance with the regulations of any act which, apart from the registration, would constitute an offence under this section; and

    (b)  to provide that any contravention of the regulations shall constitute such an offence.

    (8) Regulations under subsection (2) shall secure that no person shall become or remain registered—

    (a)  within five years of his having been convicted of an offence under this Part for which a special penalty is provided; or

    (b)  within three years of his having been convicted of any other offence under this Part so far as it relates to the protection of birds or other animals or any offence involving their ill-treatment,

no account being taken for this purpose of a conviction which has become spent by virtue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders is Act 1974.

    (9)  Any person authorised in writing by the Secretary of State may, at any reasonable time and (if required to do so) upon producing evidence that he is authorised, enter and inspect any premises where a registered person keeps any wild birds for the purpose of ascertaining whether an offence under this section is being, or has been, committed on those premises.

    (10) Any person who intentionally obstructs a person acting in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (9) shall be guilty of an offence.


Registration etc. of certain captive birds.

        7.—(1) If any person keeps or has in his possession or under his control any bird included in Schedule 4 which has not been registered and ringed or marked in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State, he shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a special penalty.

    (2) The power of the Secretary of State to make regulations under subsection (1) shall include power—

    (a)  to impose requirements which must be satisfied in relation to a bird included in Schedule 4 before it can be registered in accordance with the regulations; and

    (b)  to make different provision for different birds or different descriptions of birds. 

    (3) If any person keeps or has in his possession or under his control any bird included in Schedule 4—

    (a)  within five years of his having been convicted of an offence under this Part for which a special penalty is provided; or

    (b)  within three years of his having been convicted of any other offence under this Part so far as it relates to the protection of birds or other animals or any offence involving their ill-treatment,

he shall be guilty of an offence.

   (4) If any person knowingly disposes of or offers to dispose of any bird included in Schedule 4 to any person—

    (a)  within five years of that person's having been convicted of such an offence as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (3); or

    (b)  within three years of that person's having been convicted of such an offence as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of that subsection.

he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (5) No account shall be taken for the purposes .of subsections (3) and (4) of any conviction which has become spent for the purpose of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

    (6) Any person authorised in writing by the Secretary of State may, at any reasonable time and (if required to do so) upon producing evidence that he is authorised, enter and inspect any premises where any birds included in Schedule 4 are kept for the purpose of ascertaining whether an offence under this section is being, or has been, committed on those premises.

    (7) Any person who intentionally obstructs a person acting in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (6) shall be guilty of an offence.


Protection of captive birds.


        8.—(1) If any person keeps or confines any bird whatever in any cage or other receptacle which is not sufficient in height, length or breadth to permit the bird to stretch its wings freely, he shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a special penalty.

   (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to poultry, or to the keeping or confining of any bird—

     (a)  while that bird is in the course of conveyance, by whatever means;
     (b)  while that bird is being shown for the purposes of any public exhibition or competition if the time during which the bird is kept or confined for those purposes does not in the aggregate exceed 72 hours ; or

     (c)  while that bird is undergoing examination or treatment by a veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.

    (3) Every person who—

     (a)  promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for, or takes part in, any event whatever at or in the course of which captive birds are liberated by hand or by any other means whatever for the purpose of being shot immediately after their liberation; or
     (b)  being the owner or occupier of any land, permits that land to be used for the purposes of such an event.

shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a special penalty.

 

Protection of other animals

Protection of certain wild animals.


        9.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person intentionally kills, injures or takes any wild animal included in Schedule 5, he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (2) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person has in his possession or control any live or dead wild animal included in Schedule 5 or any part of, or anything derived from, such an animal, he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (3)  A person shall not be guilty of an offence under sub­section (2) if he shows that—

     (a)  the animal had not been killed or taken, or had been killed or taken otherwise than in contravention of the relevant provisions; or
     (b)  the animal or other thing in his possession or control had been sold (whether to him or any other person) otherwise than in contravention of those provisions;

and in this subsection "the relevant provisions" means the provisions of this Part and of the Conservation of Wild Creatures and Wild Plants Act 1975.

    (4)  Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person intentionally—

     (a)  damages or destroys, or obstructs access to, any structure or place which any wild animal included in Schedule 5 uses for shelter or protection ; or
     (b)  disturbs any such animal while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for that purpose.

he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (5)  Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

     (a)  sells, offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession or transports for the purpose of sale, any live or dead wild animal included in Schedule 5, or any part of. or anything derived from, such an animal; or
     (b)  publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that he buys or sells, or intends to buy or sell, any of those things.

he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (6) In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1), (2) or (5)(a), the animal in question shall be presumed to have been a wild animal unless the contrary is shown.


Exceptions to s. 9.

1947 c. 48.
1948 c. 45.

 

1981 c. 22 .


        10.—(1) Nothing in section 9 shall make unlawful—

     (a)  anything done in pursuance of a requirement by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food or the Secretary of State under section 98 of the Agriculture Act 1947, or by the Secretary of State under section 39 of the Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1948; or
     (b)  anything done under, or in pursuance of an order made under, the Animal Health Act 1981.

    (2) Nothing in subsection (4) of section 9 shall make unlawful anything done within a dwelling-house.

    (3) Notwithstanding anything in section 9, a person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of—

     (a)  the taking of any such animal if he shows that the animal had been disabled otherwise than by his unlawful act and was taken solely for the purpose of tending it and releasing it when no longer disabled ;
     (b)  the killing of any such animal if he shows that the animal had been so seriously disabled otherwise than by his unlawful act that there was no reasonable chance of its recovering; or
     (c)  any act made unlawful by that section if he shows that the act was the incidental result of a lawful operation and could not reasonably have been avoided.

    (4) Notwithstanding anything in section 9, an authorised person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of the killing or injuring of a wild animal included in Schedule 5 if he shows that his action was necessary for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property or to fisheries.

    (5) A person shall not be entitled to rely on the defence provided by subsection (2) or (3)(c) as respects anything done in relation to a bat otherwise than in the living area of a dwelling house unless he had notified the Nature Conservancy Council of the proposed action or operation and allowed them a reason­ able time to advise him as to whether it should be carried out and, if so, the method to be used.

    (6)  An authorised person shall not be entitled to rely on the defence provided by subsection (4) as respects any action taken at any time if it had become apparent, before that time, that that action would prove necessary for the purpose mentioned in that subsection and either—

     (a)  a licence under section 16 authorising that action had not been applied for as soon as reasonably practicable after that fact had become apparent; or
     (b)  an application for such a licence had been determined.

Prohibition of certain methods of killing or taking wild animals.


        11.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

     (a)  sets in position any self-locking snare which is of such a nature and so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal coming into contact therewith;
     (b)  uses for the purpose of killing or taking any wild; animal any self-locking snare, whether or not of such a nature or so placed as aforesaid, any bow or crossbow or any explosive other than ammunition for a firearm; or
     (c)  uses as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any wild animal, any live mammal or bird whatever,
he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (2) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—
     (a)  sets in position any of the following articles, being an article which is of such a nature and so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal included in Schedule 6 which comes into contact therewith, that is to say. any trap or snare, any electrical device for killing or stunning or any poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substance ;
     (b)  uses for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal any such article as aforesaid, whether or not of such a nature and so placed as aforesaid, or any net;
     (c)  uses for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal—
       (i) any automatic or semi-automatic weapon ;
       (ii) any device for illuminating a target or sighting device for night shooting ;
       (iii) any form of artificial light or any mirror or other dazzling device; or
       (iv) any gas or smoke not falling within paragraphs (a) and (b);
     (d)  uses as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any such wild animal, any sound recording; or
     (e)  uses any mechanically propelled vehicle in immediate pursuit of any such wild animal for the purpose of driving, killing or taking that animal, he shall be guilty of an offence.
    (3) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—
     (a)  sets in position any snare which is of such a nature and so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal coming into contact therewith; and
     (b)  while the snare remains in position fails, without reasonable excuse, to inspect it, or cause it to be inspected, at least once every day.

he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (4) The Secretary of State may, for the purpose of complying with an international obligation, by order, either generally or in relation to any kind of wild animal specified in the order, amend subsection (1) or (2) by adding any method of killing or taking wild animals or by omitting any such method as is mentioned in that subsection.

    (5) In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (1)(b) or (c) or (2)(b), (c), (d) or (e), the animal in question shall be presumed to have been a wild animal unless the contrary is shown.

    (6) In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2)(a) it shall be a defence to show that title article was set in position by the accused for the purpose of killing or taking, in the interests of public health, agriculture, forestry, fisheries or nature conservation, any wild animals which could be lawfully killed or taken by those means and that he took all reasonable precautions to prevent injury thereby to any wild animals included in Schedule 6.


Protection of certain mammals.

        12.    Schedule 7, which amends the law relating to the protection of certain mammals, shall have effect.
 

Protection of plants

Protection of wild plants.


        13.—(1)  Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

     (a)  intentionally picks, uproots or destroys any wild plant included in Schedule 8 ; or
     (b)  not being an authorised person, intentionally uproots any wild plant not included in that Schedule,

he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (2)  Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person—

     (a)  sells, offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession or transports for the purpose of sale, any live or dead wild .plant included in Schedule 8. or any part of, or anything derived from, such a plant; or
     (b)  publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that he buys or sells, or intends to buy or sell, any of those things,

he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (3)  Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), a person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of any act made unlawful by that subsection if he shows that the act was an incidental result of a lawful operation and could nor reasonably have been avoided.

    (4)  In any proceedings for an offence under subsection (2) (a), the plant in question shall be presumed to have been a wild plant unless the contrary is shown.

 

Miscellaneous

Introduction of new species etc.

        14.—(1)  Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person releases or allows to escape into the wild any animal which—
     (a)  is of a kind which is not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state; or
     (b)  is included in Part I of Schedule 9.

he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (2) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person plants or otherwise causes to grow in the wild any plant which is included in Part II of Schedule 9. he shall be guilty of an offence.

    (3) Subject to subsection (4). it shall be a defence to a charge of committing an offence under subsection (1) or (2) to prove that the accused took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence.

    (4)  Where the defence provided by subsection (3) involves an allegation that the commission of the offence was due to the act or default of another person, the person charged shall not, without leave of the court, be entitled to rely on the defence unless, within a period ending seven clear days before the hearing, he has served on the prosecutor a notice giving such information identifying or assisting in the identification of the other person as was then in his possession.

    (5) Any person authorised in writing by the Secretary of State may, at any reasonable time and (if required to do so) upon producing evidence that he is authorised, enter any land for the purpose of ascertaining whether an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is being, or has been, committed on that land; but nothing in this subsection shall authorise any person to enter a dwelling.

    (6)  Any person who intentionally obstructs a person acting in the exercise of the power conferred by subsection (5) shall be guilty of an offence.


Endangered species (import and export).

1967 c. 72 .


        15.—(1) The Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976 shall have effect subject to the amendments provided for in Schedule 10; and in that Schedule "the 1976 Act" means that Act

    (2) The functions of the Nature Conservancy Council shall include power to advise or assist—

    (a)  any constable;

    (b)  any officer commissioned or other person appointed or authorised by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to exercise any function conferred on the Commissioners by the said Act of 1976; or

    (c)  any person duly authorised by the Secretary of State under section 7(3) of that Act.

in, or in connection with, the enforcement of that Act or any order made under it.

 

Supplemental

Power to grant licenses.


        16.—(1) Sections 1, 5, 6(3), 7 and 8 and orders under section 3 do not apply to anything done—

    (a) for scientific or educational purposes;
    (b) for the purpose of ringing or marking, or examining any ring or mark on, wild birds;
    (c)  for the purpose of conserving wild birds;
    (d)  for the purpose of protecting any collection of wild birds;
    (e)  for the purposes of falconry or aviculture;
    (f)  for the purposes of any public exhibition or competition;
    (g)  for the purposes of taxidermy;
    (h)  for the purpose of photography;
    (i)  for the purposes of preserving public health or public or air safety;
    (j)  for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease; or
    (k)  for the purposes of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or fisheries.

    (2)  Section 1 and orders under section 3 do not apply to anything done for the purpose of providing food for human consumption in relation to—

    (a)  a gannet on the island of Sula Sgeir; or
    (b)  a gull's egg or, at any time before 15th April in any year, a lapwing's egg,

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

    (3)  Sections 9(1), (2) and (4), 11(1) and (2) and 13(1) do not apply to anything done—

    (a)  for scientific or educational purposes ;
    (b)  for the purpose of ringing or marking, or examining any ring or mark on, wild animals;

    (c)  for the purpose of conserving wild animals or wild plants or introducing them to particular areas ;

    (d)  for the purpose of protecting any zoological or botanical collection;
    (e)  for the purpose of photography ;

    (f)  for the purpose of preserving public health or public safety;

    (g)  for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease; or
    (h)  for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property or to fisheries,

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

    (4)  The following provisions, namely—

    (a)  section 6(1) and (2);
    (b)  sections 9(5) and 13(2); and
    (c)  section 14,

do not apply to anything done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

    (5)  Subject to subsection (6), a licence under the foregoing provisions of this section—

    (a)  may be, to any degree, general or specific;
    (b)  may be granted either to persons of a class or to a particular person;
    (c)  may be subject to compliance with any specified conditions;
    (d)  may be modified or revoked at any time by the appropriate authority; and
    (e)  subject to paragraph (d), shall be valid for the period stated in the licence;

and the appropriate authority may charge therefor such reasonable sum (if any) as they may determine.

    (6)  A licence under subsection (1), (2) or (3) which authorises any person to kill wild birds or wild animals—

    (a)  shall specify the area within which, and the methods by which the wild birds or wild animals may be killed; and
    (b)  subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.

    (7)  It shall be a defence in proceedings for an offence under section 8(6) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 or section 7(b) of the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 (which restrict the placing on land of poison and poisonous substances) to show that—

    (a)  the act alleged to constitute the offence was done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence issued under subsection (1) or (3); and
    (b)  any conditions specified in the licence were complied with.

    (8)  For the purposes of a licence granted under the foregoing provisions of this section, the definition of a class of persons may be framed by reference to any circumstances whatever including, in particular, their being authorised by any other person.

    (9)  In this section "the appropriate authority" means—

    (a)  in the case of a licence under paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection (1), either the Secretary of State after consultation with whichever one of the advisory bodies he considers is best able to advise him as to whether the licence should be granted, or the Nature Conservancy Council;
    (b)  in the case of a licence under any of paragraphs (d) to (g) of subsection (1), subsection (2) or paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (4), the Secretary of State after such consultation as aforesaid;
    (c)  in the case of a licence under paragraph (h) of subsection (1) or any of paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (3). the Nature Conservancy Council;
    (d)  in the case of a licence under paragraph (i), (j) or (k) of subsection (1) or paragraph (f), (g) or (h) of subsection (3) or a licence under paragraph (c) of subsection (4) which authorises anything to be done in relation to fish or shellfish, the agriculture Minister; and
    (e)  in the case of any other licence under paragraph (c) of subsection (4), the Secretary of State.

    (10)  The agriculture Minister—

    (a)  shall from time to time consult with the Nature Conservancy Council as to the exercise of his functions under this section ; and
    (b)  shall not grant a licence of any description unless he has been advised by the Council as to the circumstances in which, in their opinion, licences of that description should be granted.
 
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