Leading shooting organisations in England are applying pressure to the government in order to restore general licenses for controlling pest birds.
In May, Simon West of the Gun Trade Association penned a letter to Secretary of State highlighting the fact that most companies in the firearms industry have been affected by the recent revocations and amendments to the General Licenses.
Simon wrote: “The sudden revocation of the General Licence with no previous consultation produced considerable confusion and dismay amongst our members and their customers. We have been providing information to them subsequently and collecting evidence of it impacts.
“In the short term it is ammunition sales that have suffered most. One dealer reported a drop in sales from 4,000 pigeon cartridges a week to nothing. We have also seen an early reduction in gun sales attributed to a fall in confidence levels. Accessories for pest shooting are also down. There are feelings that the government are bending to any political pressure rather than doing the right thing.”
The frustration among shooters was on show at the Northern Shooting Show. David Thompson, Marketing Manager of cartridge manufacturer Eley Hawk remarked: “The General License situation is always going to cause us – and everybody else – some significant problems.
“This is the worst time of year that this could have happened for us. We won’t know the full effects until the end of May or early June. We have responded to DEFRA’s consultation but clearly the impacts will carry of for many months to come.”
Duncan Thomas of BASC also commented: “Members are quite rightly concerned about a number of issues. We’ve been prevented from protecting livestock and crops. We are representing the needs to the people that use those licenses – those essential licenses. We want some progress, quick!
“There is specific guidance on the BASC website that explains how to put the licenses to their best use. They just need to make sure that they are absolutely adhering to the letter of the law. We are saying that there are problems with these licenses where Natuaral England need to sort them out – and what we are looking for now is a period of consultation where we can give our expert guidance, with the other shooting organisations as well, and make sure the way forward is the right way forward.”
To find out more about BASC’s guidance visit: https://basc.org.uk/gl/