Northern Ireland

Poots announces short ban on shooting of some wildfowl

Geese
Image caption Geese are having difficulty obtaining food during the cold spell

The shooting of certain species of wildfowl is to be temporarily suspended due to the severe weather.

Environment minister Edwin Poots said species such as ducks, geese, and waders had difficulty in obtaining enough food to survive as ground and water areas were frozen.

The Special Protection Order suspension will come into force from midnight on Wednesday.

It will last for 14 days, but will be reviewed after seven days.

Mr Poots said:"Any human-induced disturbance during this time increases the pressures on these animals.

"Therefore, I have decided that a temporary suspension of the shooting season for these species should be introduced immediately.

"This is the second year in succession that severe weather has brought about the need for a suspension.

"I welcome the responsible approach shooters have already taken and ask that restraint is shown in respect of shooting game and other bird species while they are affected during this cold spell."

Mr Poots said the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) and the Scottish Association Country Sports (SACS) had been consulted on the suspension and were supportive of this measure to conserve local wildlife.