It looks very much as if the deadline for the removal of many of the traps currently approved for use against stoats is to be extended to 1 April 2020. This is good news for those involved in trapping as it provides more time for new more humane trap designs to go through the approvals system.
The changes to the Spring Trap Approval Order in England & Wales and similar legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland has come about because of requirements in the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS).
Following a Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) consultation in March/April this year, the new Spring Trap Approval Order is in its final stages – a notification has been made by the UK Government to the European Commission, which oversees Member States’ implementation of AIHTS. This EU consultation process started on 5 July and runs until 8 October. We understand that it is pretty much a formality and unlikely to result in any changes to the proposed Order.
The notification reveals that recently approved stoat traps such as the Tully trap are to be added to the Spring Traps Approvals Order as soon as the Parliamentary timetable allows. The additional measure removing the use for stoats of the traps detailed below, is to be delayed by 15 months, until 1 April 2020.
- BMI Magnum 55, 110 and 116;
- Fenn Marks IV (heavy duty) and VI (dual purpose);
- Kania Trap 2000 and 2500;
- Solway Spring Trap Marks 4 and 6;
- Springer No. 4 Multi-purpose (Heavy Duty);
- WCS tube trap international;
- Plus a few ‘legacy’ models (e.g. Juby, Imbra) that are no longer manufactured
To implement AIHTS Defra will move the stoat to Schedule 6 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act thereby making it a protected species but there will be a general licence allowing it to be caught using traps approved under the Spring Trap Approval Order 2018.
NOTE: The day after this article was posted, on 19 July, the Government published the results from the March/April consutlation. Read the official announcement here or download the summary of responses report here