BASC is asking Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to clarify their understanding of environment minister Hannah Blythyn’s role in the decision to ban pheasant shooting on public land in Wales.
BASC and other rural organisations are seeking legal advice after the NRW board voted to end the leasing of pheasant shooting on the Welsh government estate. The decision appeared to follow their receipt of a letter from the minister.
But the environment minister has this week told a session of the Welsh Assembly that her call for NRW to ban shooting was not, in fact, binding on them.
Steve Griffiths, BASC director Wales, said: “On first flush, it appears that the minister is now shifting the blame to the NRW board.
“We can only hope this is because the public outcry from those who appreciate the potentially damaging impact of this decision has made the minister finally realise the true value of shooting to fragile rural economies and sensitive environments.
“Whatever the reason for this apparent shift of position, it is important that BASC and others with a passion for shooting can get to the bottom of this mess.
“We don’t believe it is too late to reverse this decision and we are urgently seeking clarity from NRW as to their understanding of the minister’s very late intervention.
“It is our clear belief that NRW felt they were being told by the minister to take a particular course of action, even though it ran contrary to their original recommendations which came out in support of the continuation of pheasant shooting on public land. NRW’s credibility is being damaged by this issue and it is important to the people of Wales that they provide some clear direction.
“BASC is also asking those who shoot in Wales to continue to ask the hard questions of their AMs. We also want those who live outside of Wales but shoot, beat and pick-up in the country to make their feelings known by contacting the environment minister directly.
“BASC is launching a dedicated web page to make this easier for people to do and the details of that will be announced shortly.”