As part of the Government’s ambitions to restore natural habitats and halt declines in biodiversity by 2030, Defra is currently consulting on both nature recovery and environmental targets.
Shooting takes place over two-thirds of all rural land in the UK and plays a significant role in local and landscape-scale conservation efforts. As such, BASC is participating fully in Defra’s nature recovery and environmental targets consultations.
At the centre of the Green Paper is a consolidation of our current legal framework relating to designated sites and species protection. The paper is in effect an exploration into how best to disentangle the layers of regulation that have built up since the first designation was made in 1949.
For protected habitats (SSSIs, SPAs, SACs and RAMSAR sites), the Green Paper proposes an overhaul of their designations to produce a system that is fit for purpose, bringing it up to date for what is a dramatically changed landscape. Likewise for species protection, the proposal is to streamline the legal framework into a simplified, tiered system.
Pest control, deer management, releasing gamebirds, wildfowling and target shooting are all governed by regulations. This means that any changes to the legislative framework could impact on shooting activities, many of which, rather ironically, long pre-date the designation of the habitats.
Launched on the same day was a Green Paper and consultation on legally binding environmental targets that will see successive governments held to account. There are a range of targets over six areas. The key sections for shooting are in assisting in the biodiversity recovery targets by 2030 and 2042 and the ambitions to increase woodland cover in England to 17.5% by 2050.
If nature is to triumph once more, its going to need everyone’s help. Shooting has a key role to play in this; working together with our members, stakeholders and key partners, BASC will be fighting the shooting community’s corner to highlight the importance of our combined contributions.
BASC will be responding in full to both consultations, which close on 11 May 2022. If you would like to contribute to the BASC response, please get in touch with email@example.com. We would encourage those who are involved with nature recovery programmes or manage designated land to respond.