Written by James Swyer, Press & Publications Manager
1 Minute Read
(Photo credit: Laurie Campbell)
Anyone wishing to abandon a land use that has best preserved and protected some of the rarest habitat on earth – open heather moorland – must be clear about what they are proposing to replace grouse shooting with (Vast areas of national parks given over to grouse industry, 5 August). This is important because studies of former grouse moors in Wales and Southwest Scotland have revealed the widespread loss of some of our most threatened species as land use switches to the main alternatives: forestry, agriculture or abandonment.
It is also why so many grouse moors are Special Protection Areas – they are the remaining strongholds for species that were once common across the UK. This has been made possible because these moor owners repeatedly declined government payments to carpet their hills with trees or plough them up for agriculture. The species that thrive there have nowhere else to retreat to. This is the last chance saloon for many. It’s bizarre that anyone should suggest the very thing that protected these heather-clad moors – driven grouse shooting – should now be banned. Those advocating such a move must demonstrate the impact on wildlife, the local economy and the communities which live there before we suffer any further declines. Until then, millions will continue to enjoy visiting our National Parks to see some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.