150 key achievements from the past 15 years
An effective and unified voice for shooting
In the last 15 years, we have:
1. Successfully lobbied to change and clarify the law in a number of areas, such as for the lending of shotguns, expired certificates (which will be automatically extended), and expanding ammunition (which now no longer holds prohibited status).
2. Been a key voice in support of shooting, in talks with the government and the police, with regard to several important areas, including medical involvement in licensing and modernising the firearms licensing process.
3. Campaigned tirelessly against regulation which is not evidence-based. Most recently, we are challenging proposals to ban ownership of .50 calibre and other rifles.
4. Worked to engage with government, at Westminster, Stormont, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Brussels, to ensure that sensible policies are promoted for shooting sports.
5. Responded to hundreds of statutory consultations on a wide range of topics of relevance to shooting and conservation, to ensure that shooting interests are protected and promoted. For example, we worked with wildfowling clubs across the south coast to represent shooting interests during the Natural England coastal access consultation.
6. Helped persuade the largest firearms licensing departments in the UK to improve their service, including reducing delays in the licensing process, to members and non-members alike.
7. Stopped a Firearms Fees Order being laid without proper consideration, and successfully campaigned against an unreasonable demand for excessive and non-evidence led levels certificate fees, thereby ensuring only proportionate, evidence-based firearms certificate fee increases.
8. Given written and oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee review of firearms control.
9. Presented evidence-based arguments to IUCN members, helping to secure the rejection of plans to call for a worldwide ban on lead ammunition, including a targeted ban on the use of lead ammunition for Olympic shooting.
10. Worked with government, including sitting on ornithological panels, to resist restrictions on shooting and produced management schemes for the release of game in 2017.
11. Succeeded in getting the Home Office to approve a new set of criteria for Home Office approved target shooting clubs, making them far easier to understand.
12. Rebutted many biased, ill-informed attacks on shooting, using sound evidence – for example our review of Animal Aid’s Shooting on Natural Resources Wales’ Land briefing sheet.
13. Produced a policy briefing on the unintended consequences of licensing driven grouse shooting, in response to proposals from the RSPB.
14. Advised many thousands of airgunners on the new licensing requirements in Scotland.
15. Run a survey of members in Scotland to provide an evidence base with which to fight unfair GPs fees for firearms licensing in Scotland.
16. Won a key vote in the House of Commons on the tail docking exemption for gundogs in the Animal Welfare Bill, despite heavy opposition.
17. Worked with partner organisations and gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly Environment Committee in relation to the Northern Ireland Marine Bill, to prevent any negative impact on wildfowling.
18. Surveyed shooters in Northern Ireland, to provide an evidence base for BASC’s work in lobbying against the removal of the paper firearms licensing system in Northern Ireland.
19. Challenged the Marine Conservation Zone proposals in England, with particular regard to the reference areas, which have now been dropped.
20. Successfully mobilised the shooting fraternity to oppose WHSmith’s attempt to restrict sales of shooting magazines to over 14s only.
21. Run the annual wildfowling conference, which brings wildfowlers and policymakers together.
22. Commissioned, with 15 other shooting organisations, the Value of Shooting research in 2006 and 2014, which provided key statistics on the economic, environmental and social value of shooting
23. Published results of our research into the value of shooting for wellbeing, which evidenced the social, physical and personal wellbeing contribution shooting makes to people in the UK.
24. Highlighted how shooting can help policymakers in Wales achieve wellbeing goals in the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
25. Produced an evidence briefing on the unintended consequences of reintroducing sporting rates in Scotland, for the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) committee.
26. Worked closely with FACE, which is the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation, to ensure UK shooting is represented, protected and promoted internationally.
27. Submitted written evidence to the Petitions Committee ahead of the Parliamentary debate on driven grouse shooting.
28. Produced a briefing note for MPs on grouse shooting and moorland management, ahead of the parliamentary debate on grouse shooting at Westminster.
29. Supported a project on the game meat supply chain in Wales. BASC provided key research for this project including via survey research, and BASC staff chaired and sat on the project advisory group.
30. Joined forces with Ulster Farmers Union and collected evidence to support our joint lobbying work to propose the shooting of pest birds on Sundays in Northern Ireland.
31. Seen the Director of BASC Scotland appointed as Chair of the Firearms Practitioners Group in Scotland.
32. Organised and chaired a meeting of Northern Ireland firearms dealers, senior Police Service of Northern Ireland staff and elected representatives, to discuss firearms licensing issues affecting dealer’s livelihoods and BASC individual members.
33. Developed and successfully lobbied for the introduction of the banded system in Northern Ireland that permits a firearm certificate holder to exchange one firearm for another within specific bands in an over the counter same day transaction, within a firearms dealers premises.
34. Given evidence to the Public Petitions Committee against the introduction of shoot licensing in Scotland.
35. Given oral evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly Agriculture Committee on the benefits of tail docking for working dogs and successfully lobbied for an exemption within the tail docking regulations for working dogs.
36. Addressed a meeting of the Welsh Assembly Government’s climate change, environment and rural affairs committee providing facts of fox snaring.
37. Given a joint BASC/Gun Trade Guild NI presentation to the Northern Ireland Policing Board, regarding Police Service of Northern Ireland’s intention to remove the paper firearms licensing application system without consultation.
38. Been an active member of the Defra Technical Led Working Group in the process of finding a trap which will be compliant with the new rules under the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS). We have also committed £5,000 towards the testing of new traps.
39. Overturned police policy on sound moderators for full bore rifles.
40. Gathered empirical evidence to force underperforming police firearms departments to improve.
41. Prevented further hostile anti-gun legislation in the aftermath of the Cumbria shootings in 2010.
42. Initiated funding for independent research undertaken by York University into upland hydrology in relation to management practices. This ensures our advice is based on the latest research and science not political agendas.
43. Funded a PhD research project at Poole Harbour which demonstrated that walking causes 100 times more disturbance to waterbirds than wildfowling. Wildfowling impact was deemed so low that research predicted that there would be no impact on the survival of birds even if it was increased by 25 times. This research is now being used to get longer, less restrictive consents for wildfowling clubs
44. Worked for ten years to successfully overturn the ban on prophylactic tail docking for working gundogs in Scotland.
45. Ensured that the Scottish Outdoor Access Code gave those carrying firearms the ability to cross land and water in much the same way as everyone else.
46. Developed our online Green Shoots Mapping tool which allows members to map their shoot and record the wildlife they see there. This allows BASC to capture the extensive knowledge that people who shoot have of nature on the land they access. This is now providing significant data on biodiversity, offers significant evidence of shooting’s contribution to conservation which BASC can use for advocacy work, and helps us target our conservation projects to have the best effect for nature.
47. Seen the amount of land used by shooters to record wildlife through BASC’s Green Shoots Mapping website become double that designated as National Nature Reserves (NNR) in the UK.
48. Worked with stakeholders at all levels in all our myriad conservation projects. From funders, to conservation partners, to BASC members, to local people, our conservation projects for birds, insects, mammals and habitats improve the environment for conservation and by action of that, shooting.
All party backing for shooting
In the last 15 years, we have:
49. Achieved/maintained all party support for shooting.
50. Provided the secretariat at the All Party Shooting Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation.
52. Worked with MLA’s to establish the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Group on Shooting and Conservation.
53. Attended annual party conferences and rural receptions to promote the value of shooting in the UK.
54. Taken MPs shooting and took the BASC shooting simulator to Parliament to engage MPs and in some cases, introduce them to shooting for the first time.
55. Regularly briefed and engaged with politicians, encouraging them to get involved in shooting, stimulating debate and helping to keep shooting on the agenda.
56. Evidenced the value of shooting in Scotland, with the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group, at the Scottish National Party conference.
57. Run a massive online campaign prior to the General Election, to ensure all MP’s and Party Political Candidates where up to speed on the truth about shooting.
58. Launched campaign websites for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland elections. These websites allow BASC members to find out candidates’ views on shooting.
59. Successfully helped to promote and defend grouse shooting in the run-up to the Parliamentary evidence session and debate on the petition to ban driven grouse shooting, including briefing MPs and submitting written evidence which a number of MPs drew from during the debate.
60. Briefed MEPs on the value of grouse shooting, at a hunting intergroup meeting at European Parliament.
Balanced comment in the media
In the last 15 years, we have:
61. Provided media training sessions for staff, volunteers and partners, to equip them with the skills needed to represent shooting across all media channels.
62. Regularly provided media trained staff for interviews for national and international broadcast and print media.
63. Published hundreds of press releases each year, to influence and inform the shooting and non-shooting press on headline issues.
64. Dealt with hundreds of enquires each year from shooting and national media.
65. Been proud to welcome the Duke of Edinburgh to BASC to open the new communications building named in his honour. The building features a state of the art editing suite, television facilities, radio booth and design studio. This allows us to engage with the media in more ways, so that we can make sure balanced views on shooting are represented in the media.
66. Ensured that the BASC website has continued to be the most comprehensive online resources for shooting information in the UK.
68. Launched our BASC films channel on YouTube, and produced a range of films from wildfowling and pigeon shooting, to airgunning and trap building. We have recently reached 1 million views on our YouTube channel.
69. Contributed a case study to the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s ‘Reconomics’ report, about clay coaching at the Essex Scouts Jamboree and the value of getting young people involved in shooting.
Continued opportunity to go shooting
In the last 15 years, we have:
71. Successfully worked to remove the requirement for shooters to hold a game license in order to shoot or deal in game, and to abolish the ban on selling game during the off-season.
72. Introduced stalking schemes for members, which have now developed so that we have four schemes on offer for members. These are designed to provide practical experience for stalkers of all levels of experience and ability. We have recently added a new stalking scheme in Hockwold.
73. Kept hooded crows on general licences when Natural England sought to remove them without consultation.
74. Successfully lobbied the Welsh Government and informed them of the benefit of working with wildfowlers, resulting in Greenland white-fronted geese being kept on the quarry list. This ensured the partnership approach to the conservation of this species was maintained.
75. Helped establish the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group to promote Scotland as a world-class destination for all country sports. The Group is based at BASC Scotland’s offices.
76. Helped 13 wildfowling clubs in England and Wales secure shooting over 11,000 acres of foreshore and inland marsh in the past year alone, including 10 year consents.
77. Seen a record number of clubs use the BASC wildfowling permit scheme.
78. Developed the BASC wildfowling permit scheme booklet, which was downloaded from the website over 4,500 times in 2016.
79. Represented BASC members in coastal access areas, to ensure they were not disadvantaged when shooting in coastal areas that may have been impacted by the development of new public rights of way.
80. Visited a record 60 affiliated wildfowling clubs across the country in 2016, helping inform clubs and give advice on land purchase.
81. Launched the BASC Ladies Shooting initiative, which aims to get more women into shooting. The initiative includes training courses and events and dedicated social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.
82. Launched our first ever national BASC clay shooting competition in 2017.
83. Launched GoShooting to help members secure more shooting opportunities.
84. Taken the shooting simulator to more than 30 events in 2016 including game fairs, county shows, courses, schools, political party conferences and a series of national sports roadshows. In 2016 alone, more than 4,000 people tried shooting sports for the first time over the year using BASC’s shooting simulator.
85. Enabled more than 6,000 Scouts and Guides to try shotgun shooting at the Essex International Jamboree. The Scouts have now officially recognised BASC’s coaching qualifications and the Guides have officially recognised shooting sports as a legitimate and approved activity for Guide units. BASC Council has released £13,000 from our legacy fund to help provide further shooting opportunities for Scouts and Guides.
86. Established links with the National Rifle Association and the British Sporting Rifle Club at Bisley to give BASC members access to full bore rifle shooting.
87. Administrated the Wildlife Habitat Trust, which has lent £1.5 million to BASC affiliated clubs and syndicates. The money lent has enabled the purchase of 895 acres of land for shooting and conservation purposes.
88. Developed a partnership agreement with Natural England, which mutually respects the work of both BASC and Natural England.
89. Secured over half a million pounds of funding that has been used for conservation projects of national importance.
90. Been active in conservation work, with the help of national partnerships and volunteers, through water vole surveys, protecting water voles in the south west and Wales from predation by mink, red squirrel conservation, linking up miles of hedgerows to allow dormice and other species to move in response to climate change, dormouse surveying, and more.
91. Created an online bag recording system for wildfowlers, simplifying the mandatory bag return system for the BASC wildfowling clubs that lease sporting rights from the Crown Estate.
92. Set up coordinated groups to control grey squirrels, helping to conserve trees and red squirrels.
93. Seen our wildfowling permit scheme at Lindisfarne reach the final stages of the Purdey Awards.
High standards in shooting
In the last 15 years, we have:
94. Developed more BASC codes of practice including snaring codes in England and Wales.
95. Provided the secretariat to the code of good shooting practice.
96. Become involved with the raptor persecution priority delivery group, which aims to raise community trust and awareness to facilitate intelligence and incident reporting, leading to increased prevention and enforcement activity relating to raptor persecution.
97. Seen the head of our game and deer department become the plan owner for the poaching priority delivery group. This is dedicated to increasing the awareness of poaching as a serious wildlife crime and aims to build better trust and relationships between the police and local communities with a view to improving prevention activity, intelligence and enforcement success.
98. Continued our work to fight against poaching, including developing BASC booklets on poaching and giving these to nearly 14,000 police forces and members.
99. Headed the development of the Project Poacher smartphone app, which promotes the reporting of poaching incidents.
100. Developed an industry standard course on snaring, providing members with the key knowledge and skills for the legal use of snares for fox control.
101. Developed a course for the safe and legal use of rodenticides. This course allows gamekeepers to continue to legally use professional grade rodenticides in the control of rats.
102. Visited numerous shoots and provided them with hands on, practical advice to improve quality, husbandry and standards.
103. Ensured voluntary suspensions on waterfowl shooting in cold weather were managed.
104. Developed and increased BASC training courses – in 2016 alone, 911 candidates were trained and 121 courses were run.
105. Delivered rural crime training to over 1,200 police officers, PCSOs, and police staff from Hampshire Constabulary.
106. Helped promote the proper handling and use of game meat, from shoot to game dealer, through publishing the Guide to Good Game Handling.
107. Developed over 40 bespoke courses and training days for journalists, zoos, wildlife associations and hotels / leisure centres.
108. Delivered training to 26 Police Service Northern Ireland staff involved in the firearms licensing process, to appreciate firearms licensing from the perspective of a sporting shooter.
Members offers, services and savings
In the last 15 years, we have:
109. Created the BASC firearms team, which is unique in UK shooting organisations. The team have 250+ years of experience between them.
110. Expanded the firearms team over time, which handled 10,640 requests for help from members during 2016 alone – this equates to 877 per month.
111. Expanded the membership team, who handled just under 47,000 calls in 2016 – over 800 more than in 2015.
112. Launched legal expenses insurance for members, to cover the legal costs arising from appeals against the revocation and refusal of firearm and shotgun certificates.
114. Introduced BASC’s vehicle discount scheme and have now expanded the scheme to encompass models from 22 car manufacturers. Members have now saved more than £11.5 million when buying cars through the scheme, and in 2016 alone, members saved over £3.7 million.
115. Seen BASC members offered complimentary entry to The Game Fair 2017, courtesy of the organisers.
116. Achieved record circulation levels for our Shooting & Conservation magazine in 2017, which is now read by more than 150,000 people.
117. Developed an excellent trade member package including insurance, mailing services and credit / debit card preferential rates.
118. Worked with our trade members to develop specific discounts to BASC members, now offered by over 190 trade members.
119. Launched a gun finance package for members, to make acquiring shooting equipment more affordable.
121. Announced a discount for members wishing to sell shooting equipment and guns through the Gunstar online sales portal.
122. Maintained a strong retention rate, which currently stands at 92.2%, and regularly monitored members’ satisfaction with BASC to ensure we are meeting your needs.
In the last 15 years, we have:
123. Introduced BASC Bites so members can see the work BASC does across the organisation each month.
125. Established, with Scottish Natural Heritage, Scotland’s Natural Larder to reconnect people, including school children, with hunted and foraged natural foods.
126. Developed pioneering projects such as Young Shots Ambassadors, and the #LetsLearnMoor project which educates youngsters about grouse moor management.
127. Launched a search for Britain’s best Young Shots conservation project.
128. Introduced BASC social committees and Taste of Game dinners. Also we have run a series of game cookery demonstrations throughout the year, including at Countryfile Live.
129. Given a presentation to ‘Shooting for Heroes’, a part of the Help for Heroes charity, helping injured soldiers undertake modules in gamekeeping as part of the rehabilitation programme.
130. Received Financial Standards Authority registration.
131. Run the deer trophy (head) measuring service since 2009, including partnering up with the British Deer Society and Sporting Rifle magazine in 2015. The service is fast becoming the most popular measuring service in the country.
132. Organised and run the BASC Chudleys gundog scurry league, a major gundog competition with large presence at game fairs and country shows. This has grown in popularity every year.
133. Organised and run the gamekeepers classes for working gundogs at Crufts, the largest dog show in the world.
134. Worked with the Food Teachers Centre to develop a project to train teachers to prepare and cook game, so that it can be introduced into secondary school cooking lessons.
135. Persuaded Royal Mail to drop their proposals to ban the carriage of firearms.
136. Regularly attended and presented at conferences to represent the work of BASC and shooting, including as the Standing Conference on Countryside Sports, the International Union of Game Biologists, and the Sheffield peatlands conferences.
137. Produced our first infographic, now one of many.
138. Produced our first white paper, now one of many.
139. Introduced Science Matters, our monthly update on new research of relevance to shooting and conservation. BASC monitors scientific journals, environmental, policy and political alerts for the results of new studies every day.
140. Promoted the increasing uptake of Ladies Shooting in the UK to FACE, for their Women Hunters project.
141. Continued to survey members to find out what products and services members most want from us, and to find out how we’re doing, and in many cases, to provide an evidence base with which to support our policy and advocacy work.
142. Supported the Game Shooting Census, alongside other organisations. The Census is run by Guns on Pegs and Strutt & Parker.
143. Assisted the Welsh Government in developing a grey squirrel management plan.
144. Joined the UK Squirrel Accord; BASC’s Director of Conservation was on the executive committee.
145. Considerably enlarged the list of types of firearms deemed antique by the Home Office.
146. Supported the Countryside March in 2002.
147. Helped members manage through Blue Tongue and Bird Flu outbreaks.
148. Defended the attacks on raised laying cages from those opposed to shooting.
149. Succeeded in simplifying the firearm certificate application forms to make the process easier for shooters.
150. Celebrated our centenary.