Opinion Former Article

Grouse debate united the countryside, says BASC

BASC believes the driven grouse debate has united the countryside behind shooting after submissions made by MPs highlighted its benefits to the rural economy and conservation.

Many of those who spoke at the three-hour debate in Westminster Hall on Monday paid tribute to the work of those who manage the uplands for grouse shooting and acknowledged that it provides a lifeline to isolated rural communities. Grouse shooting is worth £100 million to the UK economy and supports the equivalent of 2,500 full-time jobs.

In the closing stages of the debate, minister for rural affairs Dr Therese Coffey reaffirmed the government’s manifesto commitment that it has no intention to ban driven grouse shooting. She further sated that there was no plan to introduce licensing of grouse moors.

A number of MPs drew on evidence contained within BASC's white paper on grouse shooting, which had been highlighted in the parliamentary briefing paper produced ahead of the House of Commons debate. BASC had also set up a website which allowed its members to lobby their MPs to seek their views on grouse shooting.

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “BASC was delighted by the quality of the well-informed debate and very grateful to all those who ensured that MPs understood the truth. In particular, a number of other rural organisations worked tirelessly in the months leading up to the evidence hearing and this week’s debate and they should be congratulated for their efforts.

“The debate may have fallen out of an online petition by extremists but, in the end, it allowed those with a passion for shooting to very publicly dispel the myths behind their propaganda.

“We should make no bones about it; shooting, not just grouse shooting, was under attack in the build up to this debate. But it was inspiring to see the way those who live and work within in the countryside, and those with a passion for the countryside, united to fight off this attack.

“I expect the shooting community will now leave behind the celebrity sideshow and get back on with the work it does best, which is to support shooting, invest time and money in conservation and work for the sustainability of rural communities.”


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