Thousand-strong signature letter urges MSPs to amend “unacceptable” grouse bill

grouse flying

More than 1,000 people have signed a letter calling on the Scottish Parliament to make changes to the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill.

The letter, signed by more than 1,000 of BASC’s Scottish members, urges MSPs to adopt changes to the Bill to make grouse shoot and muirburn licensing more ‘workable and practical’. The move comes ahead of a crucial vote on amendments relating to Stage 2 of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill.

The amendments are due to be voted on by members of the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee next Wednesday.

  • BASC has called for the following key amendments through its extensive lobbying of MSPs:
    A removal of the unworkable annual grouse shoot and muirburn licence, to be replaced with, at minimum, a 10-year licence.
  • A removal of the powers allowing Scottish ministers to add further bird species to the red grouse shooting licence.
  • A complete overhaul of the powers around suspending and revoking a licence.
  • Amendments to the muirburn licence, removing the ‘last resort’ clause and making it easier to carry out muirburn to tackle wildfire risk.

BASC has also called for a compensation scheme which would provide licence holders with financial support pending the outcome of a licence suspension.

BASC has lobbied MSPs for several months, suggesting changes which could be made to remove elements of the Bill which BASC considers as contravening Articles within the European Convention on Human Rights.

BASC Scotland director Peter Clark said: “MSPs cannot ignore the concerns raised in a 1,000-signature letter, as the Bill in its current draft form is wholly unacceptable, with overbearing powers on licence suspension and conditions.

“Gamekeepers and land managers want a workable and practical solution, hence why the letter has garnered such support. 

“BASC has extensively lobbied Scottish government ministers and MSPs from across the political spectrum. Now we are demanding they recognise what is at stake, and vote accordingly next Wednesday when the amendments are considered.”

Read the letter in full here.