Bin tax can help boost biodiversity, says BASC

A proposed ‘landfill tax’ in Wales could help boost biodiversity projects run by people who shoot, according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

BASC has outlined the benefits of shooting and conservation in its response to the Welsh Assembly Government’s consultation on the proposed devolved tax and how it can be used to benefit local communities and the environment.

BASC’s response also included examples of biodiversity projects which were undertaken by or in partnership with people who shoot and funded or part-funded by landfill tax.

These projects include work to protect water voles in the South West of England from habitat loss and predation by the American Mink; work to safeguard the future of dormice in Cheshire and the creation of wildlife corridors benefitting birds, mammals and amphibians in North Wales.

Ian Danby, BASC’s head of biodiversity projects, said:  “These projects are often only possible with support from funds diverted from landfill tax.  Landfill tax funds have been a lifeline for many projects that achieve conservation priorities for both local people and for national targets.

“BASC has been able to draw down funds from these schemes to date and deliver excellent benefits from habitats and species at the landscape scale.  We are encouraging the Welsh Government to support funding for biodiversity projects coming from organisations like BASC and conservation charities.”

The Welsh Assembly Government’s consultation lays out some of the choices it will have to make about how it will operate its own landfill tax scheme from 2018.  BASC has recommended that:

• The Welsh Government should increase the proportion of funds allocated to the wellbeing of communities from the proposed Landfill Disposals Tax.

• Biodiversity and environmental improvements activities should be prioritised as they are at high risk of underfunding.

• The new administrative model that the Welsh Government and the Welsh Revenue Authority have created ensures that those communities and third sector organisations with good projects can apply and that they can apply for multi-year biodiversity projects.

Mike Sherman, chairman of BASC’s Welsh committee, said: “Shooting is worth £75 million a year (Gross Value Added) to the economy in Wales and provides significant conservation benefits.   The amount of conservation work provided by people who shoot in Wales amounts to the equivalent of 490 full-time conservation jobs and shooting influences the management of around 380,000 hectares of land – the equivalent of 18 per cent of Wales. Shooting supports the equivalent of 2,400 full-time jobs in Wales. We hope to be able to build on this good work with the help of funds from the proposed landfill tax.”

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