Labour support for sustainable shooting highlighted at party conference

Steve Reed Labour Conference

Labour gave a clear endorsement of “sustainable shooting conducted according to the law” as it announced its intention to create a ‘Nature Manifesto’ ahead of the next general election.

Speaking at the joint BASC and Angling Trust rural reception at Labour’s autumn conference in Liverpool this week, Shadow Environment Secretary Steve Reed said the party wants a ‘respectful relationship’ with the countryside.

“In 1997 and 2001, Labour was the biggest political party in the countryside,” he said. “We had more rural and coastal seats than any other party. That hasn’t been the case since then – but we want to be the party of the countryside again.

“Keir Starmer wants that to happen and we know that means we have to develop a very respectful relationship with the countryside; that means people from urban seats like me not telling people who live in and enjoy the countryside how they should live their lives.

“That respectful approach is absolutely necessary if we’re going to form a government and then be a successful government. And that includes us supporting shooting that is sustainable and conducted according to the law.”

Labour shooting quote

"Nature is in crisis"

Mr Reed also spoke about the importance of restoring natural habitats. Shooting is involved in the management of two-thirds of the UK’s rural land area.

“Nature is in crisis and the climate is in crisis,” he added. “The nature and climate crises are two sides of the same coin in my opinion. We live in one of the most nature depleted countries on earth and we need to do a lot more to protect and restore nature in our countryside for all of us to enjoy as part of our shared national heritage.

“We want responsible access for everyone and the right for people to get out there and really enjoy the benefits of being in the beautiful countryside that we are blessed with in this country.

“So we will be adopting policies as we work towards the next general election. I hope we’ll end up with a nature manifesto.

“That means looking at how we can extend and restore our forests, our wetlands and coastal environments. All of them are essential – not just for beauty and enjoyment – but for carbon capture and carbon storage. There is a big agenda there that I want Labour to develop as we move towards the next election and then implement if we’re fortunate enough to be elected into government.”

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