Page last updated at 23:20 GMT, Sunday, 14 June 2009 00:20 UK

Bid to reform outdated nature law

American signal crayfish
The American signal crayfish got into Scottish waters about 15 years ago

Reforming Scotland's "outdated" wildlife legislation will be the subject of a public consultation.

The Scottish Government said current laws, some of which go back more than 200 years, contain anomalies and weaknesses which need to be addressed.

The consultation proposes action to address problems created by non-native invasive species like Japanese knotweed and the American signal crayfish.

The natural environment is said to be worth about £17bn to the Scots economy.

Environment Minister Richard Lochhead said it was vital to protect and enhance the environment because it was one of the country's "most valuable assets".

He added: "Any legislation of this kind must take into account the views of those living and working in our countryside which is why I am seeking the views of experts from both land-owning and conservation organisations during this consultation process."

Japanese Knotweed
Ministers say more action is needed to tackle species like Japanese Knotweed

A big part of the consultation will focus on how to tackle non-native species, such as the signal crayfish, which got into Scottish waters about 15 years ago and has been blamed for eating young fish and destroying their natural habitat.

It has been branded one of the most invasive and aggressive species in the country alongside the grey squirrel, Japanese knotweed and American mink.

The consultation also suggests reforming game laws, some of which date back to the 18th Century, and how to introduce more robust and sustainable deer management practices, including raising the standards of those involved in shooting the animals.

Duncan Orr Ewing, from the RSPB Scotland, said: "The management of deer populations and game species ought to be as modern as possible, to protect and enhance the countryside of the 21st Century, and the wildlife and rural businesses that rely on it."

The Scottish Rural Property and Business Association said they wanted to see systems that operated in a straightforward way for the managers and users of the countryside.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Alien invasion hits the UK
13 Oct 08 |  Science & Environment
Is there an alien in your garden?
10 Oct 08 |  Science & Environment
Predators could be superweed fix
13 Oct 08 |  Science & Environment
'Kill Crayfish on sight' appeal
15 Aug 08 |  South of Scotland
Warning issued over harmful weeds
11 Jun 07 |  Tayside and Central

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific