BASC calls for clarity on grouse licensing timescales

red grouse

BASC Scotland has written to the Minister for Agriculture and Connectivity, Jim Fairlie MSP, seeking clarification over the introduction of licensing for grouse shooting ahead of the start of the season.

With just over two months to go until the start of the grouse season, BASC is calling on the Minister to confirm the date the licensing system will be fully operational and whether the processes needed to deliver the licences will be in place by that date.

BASC Scotland director Peter Clark said that while the Scottish Government’s intention was to have grouse shoot licensing in place for the start of the 2024 season, the process of shaping the Code of Practice underpinning it was still ongoing.

He said BASC members were concerned that the online system for licence applications was not yet operational and that members were not confident the system would be working and delivering licences in advance of 12 August.

In a letter to the Minister, BASC is seeking assurance that licensing will be in place by that date or that the commencement date of the licencing framework is pushed back to the start of the 2025 season to allow enough time to set up the relevant processes.

Mr Clark said: “Our members are concerned that with the Scottish Government seeking to introduce grouse shoot licensing before 12 August, that time is running out.

“All businesses need time to adapt to major changes, and grouse shooting is no exception.

“The grouse shooting sector in Scotland must not be placed in such a situation so close to its most important date, given the risk to jobs, livelihoods and the rural economy.

“We have written to the Minister seeking assurance that our sector will not be left in an uncertain situation”.

For more news from BASC Scotland, head to our dedicated pages here.