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Animals And Birds (Imports)

Volume 164: debated on Monday 18 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many licences for the purposes of importing birds under the CITES regulations were granted in 1986, 1987 and 1988.

This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Details of all United Kingdom trade in CITES species, including but not separately identifying birds, are submitted annually to the European Commission and are included in the Commission's annual report on trade in endangered species. I have arranged for copies of the 1986 and 1987 reports to be placed in the Library of the House. The United Kingdom figures for 1988 have been submitted to the Commission, but have not yet been published by it.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria are applied by him in granting import licences under CITES; and whether he takes into account the character of the applicant, as demonstrated by relevant criminal convictions concerning importation without a licence or the breaking of previous licences.

Applications for import licences are considered on their merits, in the light of advice from our scientific advisers and in accordance with the EC regulations which implement CITES within the European Community. Failure on the part of an applicant to comply with the conditions of a previous licence, or a conviction for offences under import or other relevant legislation, would be regarded as a relevant factor to be considered if further applications for import licences were submitted.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what conveniently available figures he has as to how often identification experts were called out in 1988 to pass judgment on mammals, birds, reptiles and fish in relation to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act.

At the request of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, my Department arrange for identification experts to be called out on four occasions in 1988 to inspect animals covered by the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976. However, in implementing the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, HM Customs and Excise may also seek assistance in identifying species direct from private consultants. Details of the number of such cases are not readily available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.