The Ventilator

Incorporating The Ranger's Blog

Legal mattersProtected species

Scotsmen will need a sporran licence. No, seriously.

Matthew Chatfield

As from 21 August this year, European Protected Species are getting extra protection in England. It would be nice to say this is because of enthusiasm on the part of the government to further conserve these species, but actually it’s in response to a judgement in the European Court of Justice requiring UK legislation to more closely follow the EU Habitats Directive. Still, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Here’s Naturenet’s updated page on European Protected Species, including a list of all the species concerned.

Sporran (c) moofie

A parallel new legislative package has already been introduced in Scotland, and one unexpected consequence, that the BBC wittily points out, springs from the new requirement that anyone who wishes to possess specimens of a protected species must have a genuine reason for doing so, and will have to demonstrate this is compatible with the Regulations. Such ‘specimens’ could include sporrans made from otter or badger skin – although badgers are not European Protected Species the Scots have given them extra protection as well. So Scotsmen face the prospect of needing a sporran licence! EDIT: The Scottish Sporrans website says this is not entirely true. They say:

A quote which is being given out by the Scottish Executive in regards this matter is as follows: “New legislation, introduced on the 15th February 2007, has made it a legal requirement to have a licence to possess live or dead specimens / derivatives of any wild animal listed on AnnexIV(a) of the Habitats Directive, such as Eurasian Otter, Wildcat or Bat, NOT as was erroneously reported in the newspapers to Eurasian Badger, Common Seal, Grey Seal, Deer, Hedgehogs and Moles. The law in relation to these species has not changed at all.”

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

4 thoughts on “Scotsmen will need a sporran licence. No, seriously.

  • Steve Dickson

    Just to let you guys know. Fortunately this story was absolute nonsense. If you would like to go to the site at” it will give you a full explanation of the circumstances behind this legislation and shows up this BBC article as being absolute rubbish and scaremongering tactics to sell their news.

  • nae exemption forra forran sporran!

  • The Virtual Ranger

    Well, if your sporran is made of badger or otter fur, then maybe you will… better take your Skean Dhu as well!

  • antinous

    So here I am living in California with a sporran that I bought in Edinburgh, circa 1985. If I travel to Scotland with my wee crotch purse, do I have to apply at the British consulate for a sporran licence? Will I be stopped at the border? Is there a British version of Guantanamo for foreign sporran wearers?


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