BASC has welcomed the publication of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s report on Forestry in England ‘Seeing the wood for the Trees’.

The report follows an inquiry which BASC submitted evidence to last year.

The report recommends streamlining current woodland grant schemes to help support both forestry and agriculture sectors.

BASC believes that improvements to grant schemes will help ensure that shooting continues to be a key driver in the creation and management of woodlands, particularly if there is effective advice to landowners and managers.

The report also calls on government to clarify whether it remains committed to the current ambition for England to have 12 per cent woodland cover by 2060 and how it will bring about the step change needed in planting to meet this target.

Dr Conor O’Gorman, BASC’s policy development manager, said: “BASC believes it is important that forestry expansion should not adversely affect existing shooting, such as grouse shooting on moorland, but should enhance the opportunity for more deer management.

“More use should be made of over 100,000 recreational deer stalkers to control deer in the public forest estate and to allow individuals to control grey squirrels in a co-ordinated way.”

BASC’s white paper on the economic and environmental benefits of lowland game shooting in the UK looked in particular at gamebird releasing as a driver for sympathetic woodland and farmland management, predator control and supplementary feeding.

Shooting estates can have up to ten times the woodland cover of non-shooting estates.

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