13 March 2009
A successful prosecution has been brought by Natural England against an individual for recklessly causing disturbance to birds by releasing their dogs on a nature reserve.*
The incident happened in Cornwall on an RSPB Nature Reserve within the Hayle Estuary and Carrack Gladden Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Hayle near St Ives on 9 January 2008.
The SSSI is of national importance for its wintering wildfowl and wading birds with over 90 wintering species recorded on the site including curlew, golden plover and oystercatchers. Mr Marlon Adams of Adelaide Street, Penzance released three dogs into the RPSB nature reserve at Copperhouse Pool. Witnesses saw the dogs chasing birds.
Dr Tim Hill, Natural England’s Director responsible for SSSIs, said: “Natural England wants people to enjoy the estuary and its wildlife, particularly in this setting where birds can be seen so close to Hayle town centre. As highlighted by this case, bird disturbance is a significant problem in this area enjoyed by so many. We will continue to work with the RPSB and others in the area to promote the importance of this estuary for wildlife.”
David Flumm, Site Manager for the RSPB's Hayle Estuary Nature Reserve, said: “We’re pleased with this result and it sends a clear message to others, that harassing wild birds on a nature reserve will not be tolerated. We are grateful to the public for reporting the incident and to both the police and Natural England for their support which has brought to an end this unfortunate incident.”
On Thursday 12 March 2009 Mr Marlon Adams pleaded guilty at West Cornwall Magistrates' Court, Camborne, to an offence relating to disturbance of fauna within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Mr Adams has been fined £250 and ordered to pay £250 costs for recklessly disturbing birds.
Notes to editors
*Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are notified and afforded protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as substituted by Schedule 9 to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and amendments made by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Amongst other legal obligations the legislation places requirements on owners and occupiers of land within SSSIs, public bodies and other persons. Proceedings for this case were brought under section 28P(6A) of the 1981 Act. This is the first time Natural England has used this provision.
1. Matthew Boyer, Appletree Barn, Chagford, Devon, TQ13 8JQ, 01647 432222 acted on Natural England’s behalf in this case.
2. As outlined in the Countryside Code, by law you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife. More information about the Countryside Code can be found on Natural England’s Countryside Access website: www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk
3. For more information contact Natural England’s National Press Office on 0845 603 9953, out of hours 07970 098005, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment and works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife.