The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has accused the Scottish Green Party of using the Coronavirus crisis to launch an unnecessary attack on shooting.

The Greens used emergency coronavirus legislation to seek official closure of the muirburn season – despite the shooting community instigating a voluntary cessation of burning last week.

BASC had previously endorsed guidance issued by Scottish Land and Estates which called for voluntary cessation of muirburn across Scotland with just weeks of the burning ‘season’ remaining.

But Scottish Parliament yesterday approved the amendment tabled in the name of Scottish Green MSP, Andy Wightman, by a margin of 59 to 17. The ban will take effect when the emergency bill receives royal assent.

BASC Scotland’s political & press officer, Ross Ewing, said: “Mr Wightman’s decision to use emergency legislation to ban all muirburn activity is completely unnecessary and an exceedingly poor use of parliamentary time in a national crisis.

“This is a worrying example of the Scottish Green Party using emergency legislation to bring in regulative measures which suit their own divisive agenda.

“To do so at a time of national crisis, when land managers had already been asked to cease burning and when the end of burning season is only weeks away, is utterly needless. It is nothing less than an attack on shooting.

“At a time when people have so much else to worry about, this was not an issue that should have troubled the Scottish Parliament. The Greens have proved they are out of touch with the national mood by wasting precious parliamentary time on this futile amendment.

“The amendment will achieve precisely nothing in practice in lieu of the voluntary cessation. Nevertheless, we will ensure members are informed when the bill receives royal assent and when the ban comes into force.”

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