THE Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Cymru welcomes the evidence-based proposals for shooting on land managed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
NRW opened evidence and are now undergoing consultation following concerns about the use of firearms on its land.
Proposals in the consultation papers show firearms should continue to be a NRW conservation tool on land it manages, they should continue to consider applications from others wishing to use firearms as a conservation tool on NRW land and NRW should continue to consider the leasing of land for pheasant shooting, wildfowling and other pursuits involving firearms.
These proposals (full details here) coincide with GWCT’s written recommendation to NRW (in full here).
Some 13 GWCT peer-reviewed scientific papers were included in the NRW Synthesis of Evidence. Within these, GWCT research indicates alternatives to firearms, such as forest design and contraception, aren’t that effective. It also shows that stopping released gamebird shooting could result in the loss of income for communities, reduce recreation which may affect health and well-being, see an increase in shoots taking place on more sensitive sites and could cause a rise in anti-social behaviour in woodlands where sporting rights have been withdrawn.
In NRW’s assessment of the GWCT, it said: “Of all the submissions, the work of the GWCT is, in our opinion, the most sophisticated, and based on extensive empirical work and peer-reviewed research papers. Their work also underpins the Code of Good Shooting Practice which is universally supported by the shooting community. This portfolio of work should be granted greater significance.”
Sue Evans, GWCT director in Wales, has welcomed these comments.
She said: “NRW must be congratulated on their open and transparent approach to addressing concerns raised by those seeking to ban shooting. This detailed assessment shows that a firearm is not only a vital conservation tool but a way of providing jobs and social cohesion in rural Wales.”
The review was created due to implications from the new Environment (Wales) Act and following concerns raised by stakeholders.
Sue added: “The GWCT believes the conclusions made by NRW are well considered and should be adopted and we invite others to add their views before the consultation closes on at 25 April.”
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.
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