Shooting and angling have a vital role to play in providing a joined-up approach to the rural environment and economy, Shadow Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies told delegates at the Labour party conference in Manchester on Monday night.
Mr Irranca-Davies was speaking at The Rural Reception organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Angling Trust.
He said this partnership approach was driven by organisations such as BASC and the Angling Trust, adding that Labour needed to utilise the expertise of rural people to provide solutions to rural problems.
He concluded his address by stating that in opposition, Labour needs to work constructively with organisations such as BASC and the Angling Trust to ensure an economically, socially and environmentally viable future for rural areas.
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust said anglers want to see more fish in inland and coastal waters and the first step is to continue improving water quality. He said there was still a long way to go but anglers will work with other organisations to help achieve it. Mr Lloyd said the Environment Agency should be reformed to shift its focus on to regulation rather than delivery of objectives.
Concluding the reception, John Swift, chief executive of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation reviewed the work of Labour over its time in government. He highlighted the positive work of politicians such as Martin Salter, Ben Bradshaw and Paddy Tipping on issues including firearms legislation, tail docking, pest control and game licences.
BASC’s members come from all political and economic backgrounds, Mr Swift said. He warned that many people who shoot will be affected by spending cuts. He said BASC is prepared to work with Labour to achieve benefits for shooting and for the wider rural environment and economy.