Westminster, London, Big BenA report from the independent Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), which examines proposed regulation for sound supporting evidence, proper process and ultimate impact, has been welcomed by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

The RPC scrutinises regulatory proposals to look at the evidence and analysis which supports them. The RPC’s latest report, published today (4th March), found a “disappointing reduction in the overall quality of evidence underpinning changes in law.” It also highlighted an increasing number of policy measures which have not been subject to proper scrutiny.

Richard Ali, BASC chief executive, said: “Regulation increasingly affects every aspect of shooting and conservation. It is vitally important that new rules are properly scrutinised and checked for sound supporting evidence and we welcome the work of the RPC. Too often we fight knee-jerk changes to rules and regulations affecting the day-to-day activities of BASC members.”

“BASC firmly believes that all policy must be based on sound evidence. Temptations to regulate without evidence or demonstration of need must be resisted. Far too often we see attempts to impose unnecessary or ill-thought-out changes. For example, in England we are now dealing with proposals to increase regulations on pest control such as pigeon shooting which could damage crop protection by imposing unnecessary and unenforceable rules and red tape.”

“In Scotland a political decision has been taken to impose a licensing system on airguns when the evidence points to falling crime. The proposals would impose huge burdens of cost and time on the police with little discernible benefit. In Northern Ireland the Police Service has tried to bring in costly security requirements for small businesses in the gun trade sector with no meaningful consultation or evidence of need and effectiveness.”

“Every holder of a police-approved shotgun or firearm certificate in the UK will know that regulation changes frequently, often without supporting evidence, proper consultation or analysis of impact and unintended consequences. This is why BASC welcomes the Government’s efforts to reduce red tape and the RPC’s work to scrutinise legislation and regulation for supporting evidence, process and effect.“

“BASC will hold lawmakers and regulators across the UK to account to ensure the five principles of better regulation are used in every case. Regulators should not exercise their power simply because they can. Unsupported changes and regulation for regulation’s sake are simply not acceptable.”

The five principles of better regulation state that regulation should be:

Proportionate: regulators should only intervene when necessary, with measures appropriate to the problem, and costs should be minimised.

Accountable: regulators should justify decisions and be subject to public scrutiny.

Consistent: rules should be consistent with other measures and implemented fairly.

Transparent: regulators should be open. Regulations should be simple and user-friendly.

Targeted: Rules should address a problem with minimal side-effects.


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