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Welsh environment minister Hannah Blythyn AM has written to BASC in response to emails she has received about Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) decision to ban pheasant shooting on all public land.

In the letter, she acknowledges emails she has received but said she was responding to BASC as “campaign organiser” rather than “to each individual letter”.

More than 11,000 people have now visited a dedicated webpage set up by BASC to help challenge the ban on shooting imposed by NRW following intervention from the minister.

More than 3,200 people have visited a page which allows them to email the office of the environment minister direct and more than 3,000 people have visited a page which allows them to email their Assembly Member.

More than 800 people have visited a page which allows them to email NRW direct and a page hosting an open letter by BASC Council member Ian Coghill to Hannah Blythyn has been visited more than 3,300 times.

BASC Wales director Steve Griffiths said Hannah Blythyn’s revelation that she would not reply individually was “not good enough” and her claim in the letter that NRW’s decision would have a minimal impact on the “wider shooting industry” in Wales was ill-informed.

He said: “As an elected minister, Hannah Blythyn should reply to people who have taken the time to make their views known to her. She claims there will be minimal impact but try telling that to the people whose livelihoods will be affected.

“There is a wider picture to look at here also. We urged our members to speak up on this issue, not just in support of shooting but also the democratic process. We are concerned that the way in which the environment minister has appeared to ride roughshod over a legitimate evidence-gathering review is direct contravention of the principles of better regulation which govern public bodies and sets an alarming precedent for the future of evidence-based consultation in Wales and the wider UK.

“We would appreciate clarification from the minister on “ethical” issues and views she refers to in her letter but does not specify.”

To keep up to date with all the latest news on the situation, to see how you can help and to have your say, click here. 

 

Hannah Blythyn AC/AM

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd / Minister for Environment

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have received a number of emails concerning the recent decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to not renew the leases on land used for pheasant shooting on the Welsh Government estate. The emails have originated from a campaign currently being run through the BASC web pages. In accordance with our published process for dealing with campaigns, I am responding to you as the campaign organiser, rather than to each individual letter.

The NRW review of its policy on the use of firearms and shooting activity on the land that they own and/or manage looked at the purpose for which shooting is undertaken in the context of the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and the Well-being duty. Wider policy and ethical issues are not within NRW’s remit and they made it clear to me earlier in the year those matters are for Welsh Government, as the landowner, to consider.

I carefully considered the review recommendations and I wrote to Clare Pillman in NRW to provide the Welsh Government’s view. I broadly agreed with the first two recommendations relating to NRW use of firearms for managing wild species, which impact on their objectives and other people’s use of firearms for managing wild species which impact on their neighbour’s land management objective. However, in my letter I also expressed the Welsh Government view that we do not support pheasant shooting and associated activities on the Welsh Government estate.

Whilst shooting on private land is for the landowner to decide, the Welsh Government needs to take account of wider considerations including ethical and public views in considering what happens on our estate. Indeed the NRW Consultation responses themselves demonstrated that 76% of respondents were opposed to the leasing of public land for shooting.

The NRW decision not to renew pheasant shoot leases on the Welsh Government estate will affect three shoots with a combined area of less than 300 hectares (ha). This equates to less than 1% of shooting enterprises in Wales based on the 2014 PACEC1 survey that stated in Wales there were 2,900 shoot providers with a total land area of 380,000ha influenced by shooting. I am therefore confident NRW’s decision will have a minimal impact on the wider shooting industry in Wales.

Yours faithfully

 

Hannah Blythyn AC/AM

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd / Minister for Environment

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