HC Deb 17 June 1997 vol 296 cc149-50W
Mr. Leslie

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to introduce charges for licences issued under the new EU Wildlife Trade Regulation; and if he will make a statement. [4438]

Mr. Meacher

I have decided that it would be appropriate for businesses and individuals importing or exporting specimens of wildlife species covered by the new EU Wildlife Trade Regulation to make a contribution to the costs of the licensing service operated by my Department. To provide for this, I have laid before Parliament Statutory Instrument No. 1421. This Instrument, which will come into effect on 1 July 1997, will require applicants for import or export licences to pay a fee.

In response to concerns expressed by wildlife traders, the scheme has been modified to ensure that businesses and individuals are not adversely affected by the introduction of fees. Applicants will have to pay only a proportion of the actual costs of processing licence applications. The basic fee will be £10.00 per species for animals, and £7.00 per genus for plants and corals, with a discount for larger consignments. Tourists bringing home holiday souvenirs made from controlled species will pay a fee of £5.00.

The new EU Regulation will prohibit the sale and purchase of certain species unless a specific exemption has been granted. I have no plans at present to introduce fees for such exemptions.

My Department will have discretion to waive fees in non-commercial cases which will have benefits for the conservation of the species concerned.

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