BASC urges Scottish government to consider benefits of grouse shooting

BASC is urging Scotland’s First Minister to consider the wide-ranging benefits of grouse shooting after she hinted that licensing could be imposed sooner than the recommended five-year timeframe.

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments came after the publication yesterday of the Werritty Review into grouse shooting in Scotland which stated that licensing should be introduced if there is no marked improvement in the ecological suitability of grouse management within five years.

Ross Ewing, BASC Scotland’s political and press officer, said it was “unsurprising” that the first minister had hinted she could bring forward licensing.

He said: “Professor Werritty’s disclosure that the group was split on the issue of imposing licensing, coupled with the fact that he himself intended to exercise his casting vote to implement a licensing scheme with immediate effect, removes the credibility behind the five-year recommendation.

“The mere acknowledgement of rifts in the ranks of the review group makes it far easier for the Scottish government to go against the recommendations. The First Minister’s remarks in parliament on Thursday are testament to that.

“BASC urges the Scottish government to think carefully about the licensing decision and to be mindful of the numerous environmental, social and economic benefits referenced in the review. We look forward to representing the views of our membership in meetings with the Scottish government in due course.”

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament during First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said: “The central recommendation around the timescale for moving to greater regulation was not a unanimous recommendation.

“That is one of the reasons the government will take time to consider that recommendation – and I want to be very clear that part of that consideration will be looking at whether we move to regulation on a much quicker timeframe, and we will take the views of stakeholders before coming to a final view on that.

“The option of a licensing scheme absolutely needs to be considered, and if that is the view of stakeholders, and if we consider that necessary – and as I say it is a serious consideration – we will certainly move to implement that earlier than the five year timeframe suggested by the review group.”