United Utilities decision a travesty for conservation, says BASC

A group of game shooters on a moor

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has slammed a decision by United Utilities to end all shoot leases on its land as short-sighted and a travesty for conservation.

It was announced by United Utilities last week that all shoot leases will be terminated when they next come up for renewal. It’s estimated that more than 30 shoots will be shut down as a result.

Duncan Thomas, BASC North director, said: “The decision has been made behind the scenes with no consultation with the wider rural community.

“Shoots have worked closely with United Utilities for decades, this decision is an insult to all that proactive and practical work.

“There is anger and frustration across the board. Jobs will be lost, the rural economy will suffer and hands-on conservation projects overseen by the shoots will cease. It’s a disaster for wildlife and habitats. It is a travesty for practical conservation.

“United Utilities has significantly damaged its local reputation with a decision that makes a mockery of its apparent vision for a thriving uplands.

“United Utilities staff on the ground appeared unaware of the decision and were still working with shoot members up until the announcement last week. It’s an action that will make it very difficult for United Utilities staff to operate in the rural and farming community with any credibility.”