BASC members quiz Defra Secretary of State at Northern Gamekeepers’ Conference

Steve Barclay

BASC was pleased to host the Secretary of State for Defra, Steve Barclay, at the inaugural Northern Gamekeepers’ Conference on Friday 8 March in the historic grounds of the Swinton Estate in Masham, North Yorkshire.

The main hall at the Swinton Park Hotel was standing room only as gamekeepers from across the north of England gathered to hear a range of expert speakers from BASC and put their questions to Mr Barclay on everything from GL43 to the role of Natural England.

Commenting on the conference, Mr Barclay said: “BASC members have a pivotal role to play as custodians of the countryside and some of our most cherished landscapes.

 “We know how important it is to provide the right data and evidence to create a sustainable shooting sector. I look forward to continuing to work closely with stakeholders to develop policies which create a sustainable and prosperous industry while protecting the natural environment.”

Steve Barclay
Steve Barclay visiting a local clay ground following the Northern Gamekeepers' Conference.

BASC’s chief executive, Ian Bell said: “We’re grateful to the Secretary of State for coming to Swinton to speak directly to our members – a clear demonstration of his support for our community.

“There are a number of challenges we are facing with regards to how we are being controlled and restricted, and many of those in attendance on Friday are impacted by the decisions regarding GL43 and releasing on protected sites.

“It would be fair to say these feelings were made clear to the Secretary of State. We will continue to use the direct link we have to his office to lobby on behalf of our members to protect the way of life we all hold so dear.”

Following the conference, Mr Barclay and his team travelled to a nearby clay shooting ground to watch some of the conference attendees hone their skills.

Find out more about BASC’s political work here.