BASC has welcomed the news that £120m has been made available for rural communities through the next round of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme.

The funding, announced by Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom, will be available to support farmers and generate thousands of jobs in rural communities.

Rural and farm businesses will be able to apply for the funding, which will also support existing companies to grow, develop new products and access new export markets.

The Value of Shooting study, revealed that shooters spend £2.5 billion in the UK each year on goods and services and supports the equivalent of 74,000 full time jobs but the extra funding could allow that figure to increase substantially.

In December BASC submitted a detailed response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee inquiry into shooting tourism’s role in supporting rural growth in England.

They drew on several case studies, including the Country Sports South West England project, managed by BASC, which stimulated investment of £666,632 in the country sports sector from 2010 to 2013.

Paul Williamson, BASC’s rural land development manager, said: “Shooting provides an important boost for rural areas in England, which is especially important in the tourism ‘off season’ months.

“The annual amount spent locally by shooters on food and accommodation in the UK is around £246 million, so we are delighted to hear that more opportunities will be available for rural business.”

Peter Glenser, BASC chairman, said: “We welcome this news which provides the rural communities with a great start to 2017. We all know how important these areas are, not only to shooting but also to conservation, and this funding will safeguard many businesses as well as helping new ones get off the ground.”

The £120 million fund will sit alongside recently announced funding for other RDPE projects, including woodland creation and a flood action facilitation fund.

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