Twitter-picSHOOTING saves lives, according to BASC in the wake of a Natural England (NE) study which highlights links between good health and access to the outdoors.

NE investigated the potential increase in health costs as people reduce exercise levels as a result of declines in greenspace quality and accessibility.

Using the World Health Organization’s Health Economic Assessment Tool, NE has estimated that such decreases in physical activity may lead to an additional 374 deaths per year, with an economic cost of £434 million per year.

BASC’s scientific adviser Dr Matt Ellis has linked the same methodology to statistics from the Association’s Personal Value of Shooting Study conducted last year to quantity the benefit of shooting to personal health.

Dr Ellis said: “There are 600,000 shooters in the UK. If people could not shoot, 30 per cent of shooters would be a great deal less active and 40 per cent would be somewhat less active.

“Using the same tools as Natural England, we could imply that this reduction in activity would lead to an additional 106 deaths per year and an economic cost of £300 million.

“There is an alternative to the WHO model, which very roughly estimates that a limit on access to greenspace would cause an additional 10,000 annual cases of life limiting disease, mainly depression and diabetes, incurring an additional £42m of annual health care costs.

“There may be discrepancies between analysis methods used, but this report has perfectly encapsulated what shooters have always known, namely that being out in the countryside is good for one’s heart and soul. The health benefits from shooting can not be ignored.”

BASC last year surveyed 1,400 people and found that 95 per cent said shooting is important to their personal well-being and 84 per cent said it helps their physical well-being. It further found that, on average, each person makes 20 friends through shooting.

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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