New policy white papers on landscape-scale conservation and grouse moor management

Two new research white papers have been published offering policy recommendations to enhance the important work carried out as part of land management for shooting. The papers have been produced by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

The first focuses on the role of shooting in landscape-scale management and the second on the value and role of moorland management for driven grouse shooting in relation to ecosystem services.

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Independent research published in 2014 in the Value of Shooting report shows that shooting is worth £2 billion to the UK economy every year, is involved in the management of two-thirds of the UK’s rural land and provides the equivalent of 16,000 full-time conservation jobs.

The white paper on landscape-scale conservation calls on national and local authorities to recognise the benefits shooting brings in areas such  as conservation; crop protection and food security; wildlife management and farm business diversification.

It recommends development funding to help farmers to create shoots, improvements to the game-food supply chain and simplification of the  general licence system which authorises the necessary control of certain bird species, such as woodpigeon which are the UK’s number one  agricultural pest.

The white paper on moorland management highlights the positive conservation and socioeconomic contributions produced by grouse shooting and their role in supporting and improving the delivery of upland ecosystem services. It calls for a joined-up approach from government, public and private sectors to maximise benefits. It also warns of the dangers of unintended consequences to the balance of our moorland economies, ecosystems and communities from policy which is not evidence-based.

BASC’s director of conservation Tim Russell said: “The evidence shows there is no doubt that shooting provides economic, environmental and social benefits. These white papers build on earlier research which demonstrates the value of shooting to the UK. We are recommending ways in which policy makers, public and private-sector organisations can work together to enable the maximum benefits to be brought about.”

BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “The white papers clearly set out a road-map which will allow policy makers to work with shoot providers, shoot participants and conservation bodies. Policy on shooting must always be evidence-based, conform to the principles of better regulation and seek to enable and improve the benefits brought about because of shooting and its related conservation work. I commend these white papers to all with an interest in conservation and land management.”

The white papers are:

  • The role of shooting in landscape-scale land management
  • Grouse shooting and management in the United Kingdom: its value and role in the provision of ecosystem services.

They can be viewed and downloaded here

For more information please contact the BASC press office on 01244 573052 or email press@basc.org.uk