Dear Member of the Scottish Parliament,

As a member of Scotland’s largest association for shooting and conservation, I urge you to make substantial amendments to the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill following the publication of a key RAI Committee report.

The RAI (Rural Affairs and Islands) Committee has published its Stage 1 report making recommendations to the Scottish Government on numerous aspects of the Bill.

BASC remains opposed to the implementation of grouse shoot licences, muirburn licences and licences for certain traps.

Nonetheless, the Scottish Government has decided to pursue this course of action, despite repeated concerns raised by the rural sector.

BASC has called for the following key amendments through its extensive lobbying of MSPs:

– A removal of the unworkable annual grouse shoot and muirburn licence, to be replaced with, at minimum, a 10-year licence.

– A removal of the powers allowing Scottish ministers to add further bird species to the red grouse shooting licence.

– A complete overhaul of the powers around suspending and revoking a licence

Amendments to the muirburn licence, removing the ‘last resort’ clause and amending the definition of peat depth.

Further to this, BASC is calling for a compensation scheme for licence holders who have their suspended licence reinstated after no wrongdoing. A similar scheme operates for driving instructors who experience income losses incurred by them as a result of their registrations or licences being suspended.

The report highlights just how unworkable the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill is and BASC has repeatedly raised concerns over how grouse shoot, muirburn and trap licensing will work in practice.

This Bill threatens not just successful moorland management, but also farming practices, conservation efforts, hundreds of jobs and millions in economic value. The direct and indirect benefits that arise from grouse shooting are too important to be risked in this manner.

As such I urge you as an MSP to work with us to make the enormous yet vital changes to the Bill to avert the decimation of the rural economy, biodiversity and conservation.

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