SNP backs plans to introduce licensing on shooting estates

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 5 December 2017 in News

Delegates at SNP national council back a motion calling for the SNP to come out in support of establishing a licensing system for driven grouse estates as part of efforts to tackle wildlife crime

Grouse moor - image credit: Twak

The SNP has thrown its weight behind plans to introduce licensing measures on shooting estates, after delegates at the party’s National Council meeting backed the policy.

Delegates backed a motion calling for the SNP to come out in support of establishing a licensing system for driven grouse estates as part of efforts to tackle wildlife crime.

The Scottish Government established a working group to examine the management of grouse moors earlier this year after growing concern over raptor persecution, with environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham warning that “the continued killing of protected species of birds of prey damages the reputation of law-abiding gamekeepers, landowners and indeed the country as a whole”.

The Scottish Parliament’s environment committee then recommended the group also consider the introduction of a licensing regime for shooting estates.

Ian Thomson, head of Investigations at RSPB Scotland, said: “RSPB Scotland commends the National Council of the SNP for approving this resolution, committing the party to the licensing of driven grouse shooting.

“It has become increasingly clear that self-regulation by the gamebird shooting industry has failed, with frequent incidents of illegal killing of protected birds of prey, unsustainable culls of mountain hares and repeated damage to vulnerable peatland habitats.

“While we have welcomed steps taken by successive Scottish Governments to bear down on wildlife crime, it is evident that the increasingly intensive management of some areas, solely aimed at producing ever-larger grouse bags, flies in the face of public opinion and that better regulation of this industry, to ensure legal, sustainable management of our uplands, is long overdue.”

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