HL Deb 17 June 1997 vol 580 cc111-2WA
Lord Winston

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to introduce charges for licences issued under the new EU Wildlife Trade Regulation.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman)

The Government 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 the Government. To provide for this, we 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. We have no plans at present to introduce fees for such exemptions.

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