Help the GWCT come back stronger

Auchnerran Wild Pheasant With Grampian Moorland Backdrop , May 2018 (1)

With your help we can come out of the pandemic even stronger

By Teresa Dent CBE, GWCT Chief Executive

3 minute read

A year on from the start of the pandemic, your support has given us hope and enabled us to keep going – thank you. When the pandemic hit last March, we forecast a drop in income of £1.4 million. This proved to be accurate.

Thanks to the generosity of members like you, limiting our expenditure, reducing staff hours, and taking advantage of government support schemes, under the careful direction of our Trustees we were able to weather the storm. I am extremely grateful for your loyalty and support.

As you kept us going, we kept our commitment to undertake high-quality research, inform policymakers and fight misinformation. Despite not being able to meet members and policymakers in person, we have made sure that our research had an impact.

Our challenges weren’t always on the fields, moors and rivers we work on. I’m proud that our research also helped to fend off the legal challenges to General Licences made by Wild Justice in England and Wales.
Our detailed, scientific submissions helped Defra to make the right decision and the High Court to rule that Natural Resources Wales’ General Licences were lawful.

That’s not all. With your support last year, we:

  • Responded to more than 15 Government consultations and select committee inquiries in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Fact-checked nine statements, including claims by the BBC, RSPB, Labour Party and The Guardian.
  • Published 35 research papers.
  • Generated 70 pieces of coverage in the national news and more than 1600 stories in the regional press and magazines – 35 stories every week.
  • We’re also still the leading organisation researching game management in the UK. Our science on pheasants, partridge, woodcock, and grouse makes a strong case for the conservation benefits of game management. It is members like you who have made this possible.

Despite all this hard work, there is still much more to be done and new challenges ahead.

We must now navigate our way out of the pandemic as government support schemes are withdrawn. In this period of uncertainty, your support means more than ever.

As we work our way out of lockdown, the British countryside stands at a crossroads.

In the past year, you won’t have heard much about the countryside in the news. Despite that, the governments of all home nations face big decisions about what our countryside will look like after Brexit.

This isn’t an easy challenge at any time. Right now, those who oppose traditional management of our landscape are seizing the opportunity to challenge it. In late April, he Government debated a Wild Justice petition which argued that ‘intensive grouse shooting is bad for people, the environment and wildlife.’ This isn’t just about Wild Justice.

Conservation organisations have increased their ‘ban the burn’ campaign to stop all controlled burning even when the aim is to mitigate the risk of wildfire, bringing about a debate in Parliament last November. Legal action and government petitions are the latest tools in trying to influence policy.

Can you help us to come back stronger with a donation?

When responding to calls for evidence into pheasant releasing and General Licences, we have relied on evidence that was undertaken ten, twenty or even thirty years ago. When we undertook that work, we didn’t know how vital it would be.

For us to keep responding to consultations, undertaking a full programme of research and getting the message out about the great conservation work happening in the British countryside, we need to build back our resources.

Trustees are exploring all avenues of funding to put us back on firmer footing. As part of our long-term plan, they are hoping to raise a further £120,000 this year from this rebuilding campaign to members like you.

I know that many of you will have faced far greater struggles than the fate of the GWCT in the past year. For those of you who can support our work, please do consider giving what you can and help us to come back stronger for years to come.

Please donate today and help us undertake leading research, challenge misinformation and promote what works