The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation has welcomed the new priorities set out by Defra as part of the spending review.

Whilst the department will see significant cuts to its budget it has announced a refocusing of priorities on farming and food production and improving the environment and biodiversity. Crucially Defra intends to keep environmental stewardship schemes open to all farmers, while increasing the higher level stewardship scheme by 80%. It also intends to reduce red tape and unnecessary burdens on food producers.

Environmental stewardship schemes, currently administered by Natural England,  make payments to farmers and landowners who put land into conservation schemes, enhancing habitats and contributing to biodiversity. BASC and others had lobbied the Government to maintain the higher level stewardship scheme, which makes enhanced payments for significant long-term environmental schemes.

Paul Williamson, rural land development manager for BASC, said: “Conservation work valued at £250 million pounds is carried out on shoots every year, and paid for by those who take part. The continuation of the higher level stewardship scheme opens the way for greater improvements to our natural environment which will benefit habitats for wildlife and shooting quarry species.”

BASC also welcomes the proposed reduction of red tape for food producers, and looks forward to seeing a positive impact on the game market as a result.

Prior to the spending review Defra also announced forthcoming reforms of Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission all of which play a part in shooting, particularly in granting leases and consents. BASC intends to watch the reform process closely and make every effort to safeguard shooting interests.         ENDS
For more information please call the BASC press office on 01244 573031.

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