A new survey by the Lowland Deer Network Scotland, supported by BASC, has revealed the stark impact of the pandemic on deer culls in Scotland.
The gift of grouse to rural sustainability
To highlight the economic and environmental benefit of the upcoming grouse season, which starts tomorrow Friday 12 August, BASC Scotland and Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups hosted Angus SNP MP Dave Doogan on an estate within the glens of his constituency.
The Angus Glens are synonymous with grouse shooting and sporting estates provide much needed revenue and investment in these remote locations.
Mr Doogan met with the head keeper, with the visit culminating in a tour across a managed grouse moor, where he was shown the environmental benefits of muirburn and peatland restoration.
In 2020, the Scottish Government, SRUC and James Hutton Institute published a report demonstrating the importance of grouse shooting.
It found that driven grouse shooting delivered a total combined impact (capital, running and staff costs combined) of £38 per hectare, which was comparable to, or higher than, other moorland land uses, such as deer management. In terms of jobs, there is a higher per hectare employment impact from grouse moors than sheep farming and forestry.
All of this is achieved without mainstream agri-environmental scheme subsidies or substantial input from government financial support.
Shooting not only supports those directly employed by estates. Notably, 60-80% of direct spending on grouse shooting occurs within the local or regional area.
Mr Doogan was shown recently renovated accommodation on the estate, where local tradespeople had benefitted from a substantial project, highlighting just one of the benefits to the local economy of investment in sporting estates.
Seeing the benefits
Dave Doogan, SNP Member of Parliament for Angus said: “It is always a great pleasure when my job as MP for Angus takes me high up into the Angus Glens, especially as the weather and welcome during this visit couldn’t have been warmer.
“It’s really good to see the ongoing environmental improvements being made in support of wildlife habitats on land and in the watercourses, together with the continued maintenance of walking routes throughout the glens so people can access our unique landscape and wildlife.
“There was still much work being undertaken following Storm Arwen, so it’s good to see properties being repaired and upgraded with this economic activity benefiting Angus contractors and the local economy.
“I look forward to future visits to see further developments in the outdoor economy across the Angus Glens.”
Peter Clark, public affairs manager for BASC Scotland said: “This season is set to be much more favourable than in previous years, with brood numbers looking healthy, so estates are gearing up for considerably more days.
“Estates provide high quality jobs and expenditure on shooting boosts the profitability and resilience of wider local supply chains, from hotels to country sports retailers.
“I want to thank Dave Doogan MP for joining us at the estate and on the moors, as it is vital parliamentarians see the benefit first-hand of sporting estates, and the immense contribution they make to their constituency.”
Lianne MacLennan, national PR coordinator of Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups added: “The past two years have been impacted by Covid restrictions and reduced visitor numbers. If this year’s season is more favourable, as it appears, that will be welcomed by a host of rural businesses, which are considerably boosted when there is a good season.
“Estate spending last year actually rose to £15m across Scotland, and we know the majority of this expenditure benefits the immediate local area. We are hopeful for a good season and a much-needed boost for rural businesses.”