The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has helped ensure that plans to gain powers over sporting rights and private land entry in Northern Ireland did not make it onto the statute books.
After lobbying by BASC and other representative bodies, the Forest Service in Northern Ireland abandoned plans to obtain compulsory purchase of sporting rights under the proposed Forestry Bill.
BASC twice gave evidence to the Agriculture Committee and lobbied against granting powers of compulsory access onto private land adjacent to forestry to shoot deer.
Consequently, the Forest Service reconsidered both of these issues and the Forestry Bill has now been approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
BASC’s Tommy Mayne said: “The Forest Service took a lot of criticism in relation to some of the proposals contained in the original “Options for Forestry” document and the original Bill. A number of these more controversial proposals, such as the one which would allow Forest Service staff to go onto private land to shoot deer without the authority of the landowner, were subsequently dropped at a very early stage. The Forest Service should be commended for recognising that some of the original proposals could have seriously affected deer management in Northern Ireland. We would welcome the opportunity to work constructively with the Northern Ireland Forest Service in the future for the benefit of all stakeholders."