The public benefits of conservation and economic generation provided by shooting and angling will become increasingly important as spending cuts come into effect, delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool were told last night.
Speaking at the Rural Reception hosted by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Angling Trust, Roger Williams MP said: “There are tough times ahead. Some public funds may no longer be available. Organisations like BASC will play an increasingly important role in the future. Well managed shoots, well managed rivers are good for the economy and good for conservation.”
Lord Redesdale said “Shooting and angling provide knock-on benefits for the whole community. Fishing is one of those wonderful things and shooting has many, many benefits for leisure, for tourism and for conservation.”
Roger Furniss from the Angling Trust expressed his concern over declining fish stocks in freshwater and in the sea. He said: “There are three million anglers in this country, and angling generates £3bn for the economy every year.” He also called for a review of the role of the Environment Agency saying: “The Environment Agency needs to listen more closely to anglers who pay an annual £26m in licence fees to the Agency.”
John Swift, chief executive of BASC said: “Shooting generates £1.6bn for the economy every year and two-thirds of the rural land area is influenced in some way by shooting management. We want to make sure that wildlife and habitats continue to flourish. We are aware that many public policy areas could be influenced by cost cutting and there could be blunt and difficult problems ahead, but as we face that reality we must find practical solutions. BASC and its members, who enjoy their shooting so very, very much want to work with you.”
(PICTURED: L-R: John Swift, chief executive BASC; Roger Williams MP; Lord Redesdale; Roger Furniss Angling Trust: Robert Irvine, chairman BASC.)
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