Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1976 c. 72


Endangered Species (Importand Export) Act 1976

1976 CHAPTER 72

An Act to restrict the importation and exportation of certain animals, plants and items and to restrict certain transactions in respect of them or their derivatives; to confer on the Secretary of State power to restrict by order the places at which live animals may be imported; to restrict the movement after importation of certain live animals; and for connected purposes.

[22nd November 1976]

Whereas a Convention on International Trade in endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (in this Act referred to as the Convention) was signed at Washington on 3rd March 1973, was presented to Parliament in November 1973 and came into force in the United Kingdom on 31st October 1976:

And whereas it is expedient to give effect in the United Kingdom to the restrictions on international trade contained in the Convention and to make certain other provisions in connection with the conservation of endangered animals and plants:

Now, therefore, be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Restriction of importation and exportation of certain animals and plants.

1 Restriction of importation and exportation of certain animals and plants.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, the importation and the exportation of the following things are hereby prohibited, namely—

(a ) a live or dead animal of any of the kinds to which Schedule 1 to this Act for the time being applies;

(b ) a live or dead plant of any of the kinds to which Schedule 2 to this Act for the time being applies;

(c ) an item to which Schedule 3 to this Act for the time being applies.

(2) Subsection (1) above does not apply to the importation or exportation of anything under and in accordance with the terms of a licence issued by the Secretary of State.

(3) The Secretary of State shall submit any application for a licence under subsection (2) above to whichever one of the scientific authorities (as defined in section 2 below) he considers is the best able to advise him as to whether a licence should be issued in pursuance of the application and, if so, its terms; and, before he issues or declines to issue a licence in pursuance of the application, he shall allow the authority a reasonable time so to advise him.

(4) A licence issued under subsection (2) above—

(a ) may be, to any degree, general or specific,

(b ) may be modified or revoked at any time by the Secretary of State, and

(c ) subject to paragraph (b ) above, shall be valid for a period of 12 months commencing with the date the licence is issued or such shorter period as is stated in the licence.

(5) The Secretary of State may charge for the issue of a licence under subsection (2) above such sum (if any) as is for the time being prescribed by order of the Secretary of State.

(6) A person who, for the purpose of obtaining, whether for himself or another, the issue of a licence under subsection (2) above,—

(a ) makes a statement or representation which he knows to be false in a material particular,

(b ) furnishes a document or information which he knows to be false in a material particular,

(c ) recklessly makes a statement or representation which is false in a material particular, or

(d ) recklessly furnishes a document or information which is false in a material particular,

shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 400 or on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine, or both.

(7) Where a licence is issued under subsection (2) above and, for the purpose of obtaining its issue, a person commits an offence under subsection (6) above, the licence shall be void.

(8) Where—

(a ) any live or dead animal or plant, or

(b ) an item to which Schedule 3 to this Act for the time being applies,

is being imported or exported or has been imported or brought to any place for the purpose of being exported, a person commissioned by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise or a person authorised by them may require any person possessing or having control of the animal, plant or item to furnish proof that its importation or exportation is or was not unlawful by virtue of this section; and if such proof is not furnished to the satisfaction of the said Commissioners the animal, plant or item shall be liable to forfeiture under the Customs and Excise Act 1952.

S-2 Scientific authorities.

2 Scientific authorities.

(1) The Secretary of State may—

(a) establish any body or bodies, consisting in each case of such members as he may from time to time appoint;

(b ) assign to any other body or bodies the duty referred to in subsection (4) below.

(2) Without prejudice to his power under subsection (1) above, the Secretary of State shall, as soon as practicable after this subsection comes into operation,—

(a ) establish at least one body under paragraph (a ) of subsection (1) above, or

(b ) assign to at least one body, under paragraph (b ) of that subsection, the duty referred to in subsection (4) below.

(3) A reference in this Act to a scientific authority is a reference to a body which is established under subsection (1) above or to which the duty there referred to is assigned under that subsection.

(4) It shall be the duty of a scientific authority to advise the Secretary of State on any question which he may refer to it, and on any question on which it considers it should offer its advice,—

(a ) in connection with the administration of this Act;

(b ) generally in connection with the importation and exportation of animals and plants of kinds which appear to him or, as the case may be, the authority to be, or to be likely to become, endangered as a result of international trade, and items derived wholly or partly from animals and plants of those kinds.

(5) In so far as it does not have power to do so apart from this subsection, any scientific authority may publish reports relating to the performance by it of its duty under subsection (4) above.

(6) Before appointing a person to be a member of a scientific authority established under subsection (1)(a ) above, the Secretary of State shall consult such persons or bodies, or persons and bodies, as he thinks fit.

(7) The Secretary of State may, to such extent as may be approved by the Treasury, defray or contribute towards the expenses of any scientific authority established under subsection (1)(a ) above; and any sums required by the Secretary of State for that purpose shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament.

S-3 Power to modify Schedules.

3 Power to modify Schedules.

3. The Secretary of State may, after consulting any scientific authority or authorities, by order make such modifications in any of the Schedules to this Act as he considers necessary or desirable for any of the following purposes, namely—

a ) to give effect to any amendment to the Convention made in pursuance of its provisions
b ) to give effect to the inclusion of anything in or the withdrawal of anything from Appendix III to the Convention (kinds of animals and plants the trade in which a party identifies as needing international control) at the instance of any party to the Convention
c ) to promote the conservation of animals or plants of any kind which appears to the Secretary of State to be, or to be likely to become, endangered as a result of international trade;
d ) to remove any restriction which is for the time being imposed by virtue of this Act on the importation and exportation of animals or plants of any particular kind or of any particular items and which does not in the opinion of the Secretary of State promote such conservation as is referred to in paragraph (c ) above;
e ) to facilitate the more effective or more convenient administration of any restriction which is for the time being imposed by virtue of this Act on the importation and exportation of animals or plants of any particular kind or of any particular items.
S-4 Offence to sell etc. things imported contrary to sector 1 or their derivatives.

4 Offence to sell etc. things imported contrary to sector 1 or their derivatives.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, a person who sells, offers or exposes for sale, has in his possession for the purpose of sale, or displays to the public,—

(a ) anything which has been imported contrary to section 1 above, or

(b ) anything which is made wholly or partly from anything referred to in paragraph (a ) above and which at the time of the alleged offence (though not necessarily at the time of importation) constitutes an item to which Schedule 3 to this Act for the time being applies,

shall be guilty of an offence, and in the following provisions of this section a ‘restricted article’ means anything falling within paragraph (a ) or (b ) above.

(2) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under subsection (1) above with respect to a restricted article if he proves to the satisfaction of the court—

(a ) that at the time when it first came into his possession he made such enquiries (if any) as in the circumstances were reasonable in order to ascertain whether it was a restricted article, and

(b ) that, at the time the alleged offence was committed, he had no reason to believe that it was a restricted article.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2)(a ) above, a person shall be taken to have made such enquiries as are there mentioned if he...

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