Response to the Council motion, I supported:
A company called ‘Good Nature’ from New Zealand market the A24 trap in the UK, which is designed to trap rats and stoats. In New Zealand the same trap is marketed to trap rats, stoats AND hedgehogs.
The device is approved for import into the UK by DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs). There is currently no legislation in place that prohibits their sale here. Any Product Safety (Trading standards) legislation relates to humans and domestic animals.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society are currently running a petition asking DEFRA to withdraw UK approval of this type of trap: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/our-hedgehogs-need-help
Neither Lewisham Animal welfare nor the parks team have ever received a call regarding a trapped hedgehog in Lewisham nor are they aware of any hedgehog problem in the borough. They will be on alert for this. We are also raising with the RSPCA and the Police Wildlife Protection team for their views.
It is fair to say that DEFRA’s approval appears to be at odds with Schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 that includes hedgehogs as a species for which a licence is required to allow setting traps. In the UK, therefore, any person setting a trap for ‘vermin’ is obliged to take all reasonable precautions to avoid catching a protected species [hedgehogs]. It is not a defence to say the ‘catch’ was unintentional.
Whilst there is no Trading Standards legislation we can use here to obstruct the sale of these traps, if the UK approval were to change and these traps deemed unsuitable for sale, we would of course work to enforce this.