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BASC insists a Scottish National Party (SNP) policy in favour of the licensing of driven grouse shoots would have a significant negative impact on Scotland’s rural economy.

At the weekend’s National Council in Perth, SNP members supported a resolution calling for shoot estate licensing to be introduced in Scotland, making it certified party policy to support licensing for driven grouse estates.

While shooting in Scotland is currently worth an estimated £200 million a year and supports the equivalent of 8,800 full-time jobs in the country, the UK’s largest shooting organisation believes licensing would drive away investment in grouse moors.

Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “This is a short-sighted move by SNP activists.

“Although the conference floor cannot dictate policy to the government this is a concerning development and one that BASC will be raising with MSPs and ministers over the coming months.

“Country sports constitute a fundamental part of the rural economy. Many people in isolated rural areas are kept in work by grouse shooting and its associated management and conservation. And the tourism revenue generated over the autumn and winter months for downstream businesses can make or break them and sustains thousands of rural jobs.”

The Scottish government recently established an independent group to consider issues around grouse moors, including licensing, and will be commissioning further research next year.

Eoghan Cameron, BASC council member for Scotland, said: “In recent years there has been a plethora of legislative measures, including vicarious liability, introduced to tackle raptor persecution. Published reports have shown that this is declining.

“BASC condemns illegal killing of raptors, however, there is no evidence to show that licensing estates would have any benefit. Indeed, we believe it could have significant consequences for rural people and businesses.”

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