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Go wild in the country

Colin T Reid looks at the legal issues which make claims for compensation for damage caused by wildlife difficult to pursue

16 August 2002

Nature conservation work is a growing feature of land management, and encouraging wild plants and animals to flourish on land is seen by many as a good thing. Yet there may be problems if the result is an increase in what others regard as weeds and pests which spread to neighbouring land. Not everyone has the same view of what bits of nature should be conserved. The question arises of whether the neighbour who claims to be suffering harm in this way is entitled to compensation. In practice, anyone seeking compensation may face difficulties in establishing that the defendants’ land is indeed the source of the problem, the problem has been worsened by their action, and the level of damage caused by the weeds or pests is greater than could normally be expected, but there are also legal issues to resolve. Injurious weeds and pests The release of any non-native species, even ones already established in the wild, will usually be a criminal offence (s 14 of the Wildli...

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