A group of sporting and land management organisations have voiced their concerns over a number of land reform proposals in an open letter to Dr Aileen McLeod, the Minister responsible for Land Reform in Scotland.
These include the removal of the exemption for business rates for shooting and deerstalking. The letter states that the tax could spell the end for many shoots and small rural businesses, leading to a loss of vital rural employment and a reduction in tourist income.
The group felt that there will need to be much greater clarity on how the wider land reform proposals fit in with the Scottish Government’s own objectives in terms of deer and game management and its aims to deliver landscape scale biodiversity recovery across Scotland. They argue that land owners and sporting businesses already invest in and support such management.
The group also urged the Scottish Government to undertake thorough research and a comprehensive impact assessment prior to proceeding with any proposal to introduce sporting rates.
BASC Scotland submitted the open letter to the Minister on behalf of Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Scottish Association for Country Sports, Scottish Countryside Alliance, Association of Deer Management Groups and Scottish Land & Estates.