People who shoot will continue to manage land for conservation in Northern Ireland, helping to fill a gap in rural development funding. No funds from the EU single farm payment will be ring-fenced for rural development and conservation in NI after a court ruling.
Tommy Mayne, director of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation in Northern Ireland said: “Funding for conservation and rural development is vital for Northern Ireland. People who shoot, working with farmers, land-owners and managers, spend at least £10 million pounds a year from their own pockets on conservation in Northern Ireland – providing the equivalent of 640 full-time conservation jobs.
“One million hectares of land in NI is influenced by management for shooting. This work benefits a wide range of species by creating and maintaining good wildlife habitat. Shooting also benefits rural economies by bringing visitors and spending to local businesses.
“BASC welcomes funding for conservation work from all sources, but in these times of pressure on public purses, individuals, shooting clubs and syndicates will continue to work with farmers to ensure as much land as possible is managed to benefit wildlife.”
In England, Scotland and Wales funds of between 9-15% of single farm payments have been allocated to rural development and conservation. A political and legal challenge in Northern Ireland has resulted in no funds being similarly allocated in Northern Ireland.