The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has renewed a partnership agreement with Natural England (NE) which recognises shooting’s conservation role in the countryside.

The three-year agreement, signed today at The Game Fair, builds on the long and constructive working relationship between the UK’s largest shooting organisation and NE.

It sets out a framework for joint working on issues important to shooting and conservation, such as delivery of the government’s 25-year environment plan, long-term wildfowling consents, wild deer management, scientific research and future reviews of wildlife licensing.

BASC chief executive Ian Bell said: “It is good news for shooting that BASC has a direct line into the government’s advisory body for the natural environment in England.

“The agreement signed today commits both organisations to a relationship that acknowledges the valuable role played by shooting in the nature and landscape conservation of the English countryside.

“It also recognises that shooting as an outdoor recreation can improve health and well-being and makes a significant contribution to the economy, particularly in rural areas.”

Andrew Sells, chairman of Natural England, said: “BASC members already do a great deal for nature conservation. They are providing vital habitat that benefits some of our most threatened species such as curlew and lapwing.

“This agreement will help members secure even greater rewards for our natural environment and make a significant contribution to the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.”

As part of the agreement, BASC will work with NE to examine how the association’s Green Shoots Mapping programme can be developed to feed into the government’s 25-year environment plan. BASC believes members will be able to provide important habitat and species data that will help form policy beneficial to shooting.

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “This partnership agreement sets out a shared vision and commitment for ensuring recognition of shooting’s influence on the management of the countryside.

“The relationship between Natural England and BASC is an important one. It’s no accident that the word ‘conservation’ appears in our name. Shooting done properly is good for conservation in a number of ways, not least of which is the promotion of habitat and increased biodiversity.

“BASC continues to work with government to represent shooting’s best interests and Natural England formally and clearly recognises the benefits of lawful shooting and its related conservation effort.

“This agreement provides a blueprint for the successful continuation of the relationship between BASC and NE and should be welcomed by everyone who shoots.”

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