Explanatory Memorandum

Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

2011 CHAPTER 15

29 March 2011

Commentary on Sections

Section 7 - Defences in relation to offences under Article 4

Under Article 4 of the Wildlife Order a person shall not be guilty of an offence against wild birds if he shows that his action was not in contravention of the ‘relevant provisions’. Those ‘relevant provisions’ are amended so it will be an offence for anyone in Northern Ireland to be in possession of wild birds or their eggs taken illegally in any Member State of the European Union.

Under Article 5(6) of the Wildlife Order, an ‘authorised person’ (an owner or occupier) is entitled to rely on certain defences if he has taken action that has caused harm to wild birds, their nests or eggs. This Section means that in future it will be necessary for such persons, if they are to continue to rely on the defences provided, to show that there was no other satisfactory solution to their action or, in circumstances where they knew beforehand that the action would be necessary, that they had applied to the Department for a licence.