BASC has accused West Sussex County Council of breaching the principles of better regulation by taking a decision to ban snares without consultation and without receiving any complaints about their use.

The council introduced a policy prohibiting the use of snares by tenants on all of its land following the tabling of a motion by councillor Francis Oppler.

But the council has admitted that it did not consider any evidence before introducing the ban and did not hold a consultation process.

BASC has written to council chief executive Nathan Elvery to outline concerns that that decision is against the Regulator’s Code which requires proportionality and demands that regulations should be focused on a problem.

Local authorities must comply with the Regulators’ Code when developing standards, policies or procedures that guide their regulatory activities.

In the letter, Dan Reynolds, director of BASC South East, said: “It appears that in formulating and implementing the policy the council has failed to meet its duty under the Regulators’ Code. On questioning this issue, your officers have not been able to demonstrate how this duty has been met.

“The policy bans an otherwise lawful activity, which is governed by legislation and a government-approved code of best practice. No evidence for the policy decision is presented by the council, indeed the policy document says the council ‘has no evidence in relation to the use of snares on its land and has not received any specific complaints in relation to such use’.

Ian Grindy, chair of BASC’s game and gamekeeping committee, said: “It would appear that West Sussex County Council has not shown due diligence in taking this decision to ban legal snares.

“Snares are an important tool for the legal and humane control of pest species such as foxes. Their use is essential to limiting loss of livestock, poultry and waterfowl through predation, something which can have significant financial impact on small farm businesses and small holdings.

“Furthermore, fox predation has a significant negative impact on other wildlife, including lapwing, grey partridge and other ground nesting birds, many of which are currently undergoing population declines.”


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Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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