Licensing of upland grouse moors could result in a loss of habitat and biodiversity, unemployment and rural depopulation, warn shooting organisations.

In February of this year, a petition to implement a licensing system for grouse moors gained more than 10,000 signatures, resulting in a formal response from the government. The e-petition urged the public to prevent raptor persecution, but did not take into account the economic repercussions on the surrounding areas. The government responded, saying there were “no current plans” to introduce the licensing system.

Leading shooting organisations BASC and the Countryside Alliance, have spoken up to emphasise the benefits upland grouse moors provide.

BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “It is no accident that over 70 per cent of moors managed for red grouse shooting in England are SSSIs. That special interest is inextricably linked and maintained by that management, and that management requires significant and ongoing investment. The money generated by grouse shooting is vital to pay for the management of heather moors and to provide local employment.”

He concluded: “Licensing would herald rural depopulation, habitat degradation and wildlife loss. Land which is unmanaged soon becomes a degraded asset. Biodiversity is harmed. Tourism is harmed. People leave.”


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