Hannah Blythyn, Minister for Environment
I have decided to remove the Greenland White-fronted Goose (GWfG) from Schedule 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence (under section 1 of the WCA 1981) to kill or take (or to injure in the course of an attempt to kill) any GWfG outside the close season for that bird.
Under sections 1 and 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA), in England and Wales it is already illegal to shoot GWfG during the close season.
The background to this decision concerns a complaint under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). The complaint alleged the UK had not met its obligations in failing to prohibit the hunting of the GWfG. In the UK Government’s response to the complaint, the UK did not fully accept the allegations and, in terms of Wales, the response noted that the voluntary moratorium on shooting GWfG is working effectively, and is being adhered to by all the wildfowling clubs in Wales.
However, in June this year, the AEWA Standing Committee rejected the UK’s arguments, concluding that a voluntary moratorium was insufficient to meet the UK’s legal obligations under AEWA.
I have therefore decided that, in order to comply with our international obligations in Wales, we will remove the Greenland White-fronted Goose from Schedule 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, prohibiting these birds from being killed or taken. I understand that Ministers in England have come to the same conclusion, and that Defra will be writing to stakeholders in England in similar terms.
There are no plans to make any other changes to Schedule 2 to either add or remove any other species. I anticipate this change will be brought into law in autumn 2019.