10 December 2018

GWCT Wales advisor makes rallying cry for biodiversity support


GWCT Wales is calling for more people to support the good work being done in the Welsh countryside, which is losing biodiversity at an alarming rate.

Matt Goodall, GWCT advisor in Wales, gave a passionate plea at the GWCT Cymru North Wales dinner at Tre-Ysgawen Hall, Llangefni, Anglesey last week (December 4th).

“If we lose our vital tools in both game management and conservation, we will lose many of our iconic species such as the black grouse, the red grouse and all the waders,” he stressed.

“But we can’t take it for granted that these tools will be there in the future. Petitions from various animal rights groups are distorting the truth and getting the public to answer some very one-sided questions.

“Unfortunately, today we need to be more proactive and spell out the work being done that supports biodiversity and which goes hand in hand with a viable farming industry.”

Recently, Natural Resources Wales  (NRW) made the decision to ban pheasant shooting on land owned by the Welsh Government Estate following a two-year consultation.

The decision has outraged shooting enthusiasts in Wales.

“NRW took the decision not to renew any leases of sporting rights on the Welsh Government Estate, despite having concluded from its consultation that shooting does support both the Well-Being and Future Generations Act and the Environment Act. GWCT Cymru evidence couldn’t have received higher praise with its submission made to the consultation,” added Matt.

“The Environment Minister, Hannah Blythyn directed NRW not to grant leases for shooting because of the wider policy and ethical issues, stating that the Welsh Government doesn’t support commercial pheasant shooting or the rearing and release of pheasants on its land. So instead of congratulating GWCT for helping protect the countryside we know and love, Ms Blythyn was influenced by an anti-shooting lobby.

As a judicial review is being looked at by other countryside organisations, GWCT Cymru carried out its own poll. This is what was asked.

  • asked whether they would like pheasant shooting to continue in Wales, 61% responded yes.
  • 57% of people say the Welsh Government was wrong to ignore the NRW evidence review
  • 85% say the benefits of shooting are poorly understood

“We should be fighting tooth and nail promoting best practice and demonstrating what GWCT evidence shows; and that is: where there are shoots there can be a net gain to biodiversity,” Matt continued.

Rupert Bevan is the chairman for the GWCT Cymru North Wales committee who will be hosting another event at Plas Bodegroes near Pwllheli next Thursday. Please click here or email Rupert if you would like more details. Email rupertbev@hotmail.co.uk

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

For information, contact:
Eleanor Williams
Telephone: 07592 025476
Email: press@gwct.org.uk