By Gavin Stamp
Political reporter, BBC News
29 January 2016
and Welsh governments are backing a change to the law on the possession of wild
bird eggs. UK
They say anyone able to prove their eggs were taken from the wild before 1981 should not be prosecuted.
The law was changed in 2004 to require proof that eggs were taken before 1954 but this was ruled unlawful because of a lack of consultation.
Ministers say reinstating the so-called "pre-1981 defence" against liability would be a proportionate step.
Officials said "clarifying" the law in
would have the effect of focusing resources on prosecuting those currently
collecting and trading eggs rather than punishing people who have built up or
inherited historical collections. Wales
The move, it is hoped, will encourage those with collections of scientific value to hand them over to museums for research.
While the practice of collecting wild bird eggs is in decline, the two governments' joint consultation found that illegal activity was still going on and there was a need for legislation outlawing it - which first came into force in 1981 - to remain on the statute book.