Opinion Former Article

Shooting and conservation vital for a 'Green Brexit', BASC tells government

BASC has given evidence to the government that shooting and conservation are part of the solution in terms of the future of land management post-Brexit.

In its response to an inquiry into Defra's consultation paper 'Health and Harmony: The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment in a Green Brexit', BASC highlighted the role that shooters play in delivering sustainable management of habitats across the UK.

BASC recommended in its evidence that any new environmental land management schemes should be for a term of at least 20 years. This allows significant time for conservation objectives associated with potential agri-environment schemes to be properly established.

Paul Williamson, BASC's rural land development manager, said: "Shooting and farming form a natural synergy. Shooters rely on a close working relationship with farmers to ensure that shooting can take place on land that may otherwise not be open to the public.

"Farmers, land owners and managers also know the immense benefits to the environment that comes from shooting.

"BASC recommends that any new environmental scheme should recognise the value of shooting, especially in relation to conservation objectives associated with improving farm wildlife and habitats. Not only can shooters establish and manage such schemes on behalf of farmers but they also provide the vitally important pest and predator control of foxes, deer, woodpigeon, rabbits, grey squirrels and corvids which is often overlooked when formulating these on-farm conservation options.

"The control of pests and predators is fundamental in delivering environmental and biodiversity outcomes as well as food security.”

Sarah Turner, a member of BASC council, said: "Shooting benefits the environment, conservation and biodiversity in the UK in a number of ways including offering landscape-scale management at a national level,supporting the provision of ecosystem services and delivering a workforce which invests time and money in conservation.

"Landscape-scale management, natural capital and ecosystem services initiatives are becoming increasingly important in light of increasing pressure on the UK's natural environment from development, population growth and climate change.

"Shooting can deliver conservation outcomes in these areas."

BASC's evidence can be read here: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/work-of-defra-health-and-harmony/written/81918.html

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