The work of BASC and the Angling Trust was labelled "invaluable" by the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Paterson MP, at a rural reception hosted by the two organisations at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.
Owen Paterson MP said: "Can I make this very clear that I am extremely supportive of the work that both BASC and The Angling Trust carry out – it is invaluable, and I support your view that we need to manage the countryside to get the best out of it in terms of both conservation and boosting the rural economy. We need to continue to work and it is only through the commitment of associations and organisations such as yourselves that we can continue to do this."
A statement from Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was read out by BASC’s director of communications, Christopher Graffius.
The statement said: "I am really proud of the many changes we have made over the last two years and how they are making a difference to rural communities and our countryside. As a ministerial team, we really understand that those that manage and do things in the countryside should be trusted more and used better. I am really grateful for the help that so many organisations including those represented here today have given to us and I recognise that there is much more work to do. We have an absolute determination to see a reversal in the decline of species of flora and fauna in our countryside. The disastrous loss of so many species in recent years from large tracts of British countryside is nothing less than a tragedy. To succeed we need to counter ignorance and make brave decisions but we cannot do it alone. I look forward to working with you in the months ahead and thank you for organising this event. "
BASC’s chief executive, John Swift, said: "Can I take this opportunity to introduce Martyn Howat, the new chairman of BASC, who will undoubtedly agree with me that it is a privilege to work for a proactive, upbeat and remarkably successful organisation such as BASC. As chairman of the Lead Ammunition Group, can I please urge Defra to allow the group to carry out its work before making any radical decisions about the banning of lead shot – we need to ascertain all of the facts and submit accurate evidence based information to Defra – it is only through this process that informed, unprejudiced decisions can truly be made."
Pictured is Owen Paterson MP.