The Scottish Government’s public consultation on their forthcoming Wildlife Management (Grouse) Bill proposals ended last Wednesday.
A wave of individuals and organisations representing the shooting community have responded to the consultation calling on the government to show restraint and avert legislation that could pose a threat to rural employment and important conservation work.
To mark the close of the consultation the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups, the Scottish Countryside Alliance, the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, the Scottish Association for Country Sports and Scottish Land & Estates have written to Scottish Government Environment Minister Mairi McAllan and issued a joint statement.
The organisations say: “We have written to the Minister to demonstrate the strength of feeling that exists in rural communities about these proposals. Grouse shooting in Scotland is not only regarded internationally as truly world-class, it also makes a significant employment, environmental and tourism contribution to rural areas. We cannot put that at risk.
“Whilst we continue to believe that a licensing regime is not necessary, we recognise that the Scottish Government has committed to such a system.
“Grouse moors in Scotland – as well as those who operate, work on, and visit them – are committed to upholding best practice to ensure they can continue to contribute to efforts to confront climate change, reverse biodiversity loss and sustain rural communities. There remains a real risk that more bureaucracy and legislation could damage a land use that is so vital to Scotland. “
The organsisations say the original basis for a licensing scheme centred on allegations and incidents of raptor persecution but there has been substantial progress on this issue over the last decade.