The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill passed its Stage 1 vote at Holyrood last night, including the controversial “lairds pay” clause, known in legal terms as “vicarious responsibility” – which means staff break the law on employers’ behalf when, for example, they poison birds of prey.
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “I intend to bring forward an amendment introducing vicarious liability. It will target criminality.
“It will ensure employers whose employees are involved in the persecution of wild birds will be forced to shoulder responsibility for the actions of those employees.
“There will of course be a defence of due diligence, but turning a blind eye will no longer be an option.”
Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor argued strongly against the concept, insisting existing laws should be tightened up.”
However, Ms Cunningham said the figures referred to were for cases of verifiable poisoning.