HL Deb 14 October 1991 vol 531 cc96-7WA
The Viscount of Falkland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many birds were illegally imported into the United Kingdom in each of the last five years, the number of cases which were subject to legal proceedings and the number of prosecutions which resulted.

Baroness Trumpington

The number of birds detected by HM Customs and Excise as being illegally imported into the United Kingdom in contravention of the laws relating to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the number of prosecutions taken in each of the last five years is as follows:

Year Number of Birds Number of Prosecutions
1986–87 209 4
1987–88 208 4
1988–89 380 1
1989–90 533 1
1990–91 243 3
Source: HM Customs and Excise.

Information as to the number of birds imported into Great Britain in contravention of the Importation of Birds, Poultry and Hatching Eggs Order 1979 is not readily available. However, the number of separate consignments of captive birds imported illegally together with the number of prosecutions in each of the last three years is as follow:

Year Number of consignments Number of Prosecutions
1988 23 10
1989 53 6
1990 57 6

The majority of illegal importations involoved minor or technical contraventions of the conditions attaching to the import licence for which legal proceedings were deemed inappropriate.

It is not possible to estimate how many illegal importations may have evaded detection.