Wildlife criminals to face harsher punishment, vows minister

Roseanna Cunningham.
Roseanna Cunningham.

South Scotland Conservative list MSP Michelle Ballantyne has been told the Scottish Government is committed to increasing maximum penalties for wildlife offences during the current parliament.

In a written question to environment minister Roseanna Cunningham last week, the MSP cited the recent shooting on the River Tweed of a goosander, a protected species of wildfowl, upstream of the Chain Bridge at Gattonside.

Mrs Ballantyne wanted to know what action the Scottish Government is taking to tackle wildlife crime in the Borders.

Ms Cunningham told her: “The Scottish Government is taking forward a number of new measures to tackle wildlife crime throughout Scotland.

“These include working with Police Scotland to implement additional resources for the detection and investigation of wildlife crime and a commitment to increase the maximum penalties during the current parliament.”

The current maximum penalty for killing a protected species in Scotland is a £5,000 fine or six months’ imprisonment.