BASC believes shooting can help the government deliver on the 25-year Environmental Plan announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove today.
Shooting is involved in the management of two-thirds of the UK’s rural land area, with two million hectares actively managed for conservation as a result of shooting. Management of land and species for shooting is worth more than £250 million a year.
Ian Danby, BASC’s head of biodiversity, said: “In publishing its 25-year Environmental Plan, the government has given a clear message that it wants to give the environment a voice. Shooting will be a partner in helping to deliver on that ambition.
“Those who shoot are involved in creating new habitats and managing existing ones to support species that are resident in the UK, like grey partridge, or those that visit here, like migratory duck and geese species. Shooting plays an important role in managing the impact that wildlife has on our environment, for example controlling the impact of over-browsing by expanding deer populations on Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
“Wildfowlers actively sustain 50,000 acres of valuable wetland habitat and have invested in excess of £3 million in securing declining coastal wetlands. They work in partnership with statutory agencies to protect threatened habitats and species and provide over 600,000 conservation work days per year. The Lindisfarne wildfowling scheme – a collaboration of effort from wildfowlers, Natural England and BASC – landed bronze in the prestigious 2017 Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation in November.
“Shooting also works hard for species not directly connected to shooting. BASC’s Green Shoots programme, which has been endorsed by Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, brings together people that shoot with conservation partners to achieve public biodiversity targets. Working together we have changed the fortunes of numerous species, such as water voles and dormice.
“The good management of the environment is a responsibility that is taken by very seriously by the shooting community. The role of shooting in environmental conservation is going be increasingly important over the next 25 years and it will link directly to the Environment Plan announced today.”
BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “In launching the 25-year plan, the Prime Minister laid out the government’s determination to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.
“Those involved in shooting have an innate sense of what is required to ensure we protect our sport for future generations and we recognise that we must be resolute in protecting our wildlife and environment. BASC is fully committed to supporting the government in its vision.”