‘Future bleak’ for grouse shooting and deer stalking: Land Reforms Take Aim at Scotland’s Shooting Estates

  • nicola-sturgeon-web

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced reforms that will impose business rates on hunting and shooting estates and prevent landowners from standing in the way of sustainable development plans in the countryside.

CKD Galbraith, Scotland’s leading rural consultancy, predicted the owners of some estates and large farms would stop providing sporting activities after Nicola Sturgeon scrapped an exemption from business rates worth millions of pounds.

Tim Kirkwood, the firm’s chief executive, said many rely on the generosity of well-heeled benefactors based in London or abroad, and they may not be willing to find the extra money to fund a “significant burden”.

Richard Stirling-Aird, a trustee for the Kippendavie estate near Dunblane, said the tax break was worth £10,000 to a large estate when it was introduced 20 years ago and predicted scrapping it would lead to job losses as many are run at a loss.

The move will bring an end to business rate exemptions for shooting and deer stalking estates, which were “put in place by the Tories in 1994 to protect the interests of major landowners,” said Sturgeon.

Some £3m – £10m per year gained from the reforms would be put toward supporting community land ownership, and to delivering the SNP’s target of having a million acres in community ownership by 2020.

“Scotland’s land must be an asset that benefits the many, not the few,” she said.

Sturgeon unveiled 12 Bills and a series of commissions in her first programme for government after becoming First Minister.

Regarding the Scottish Government’s intervention in the running of country estates, one Conservative MSPs commented: “The class war is alive and well in the Scottish parliament”.

Representatives of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said the real affect of the reforms would be the loss of jobs of working people such as gamekeepers, stalkers and land and river gillies, and their families.

The question now will the English Tory Government follow suit, or will they continue to use taxpayer’s money to subsidise their shooting supporters?

 

This article was first published by the International Business Times and was written by Sean Martin

5 comments to ‘Future bleak’ for grouse shooting and deer stalking: Land Reforms Take Aim at Scotland’s Shooting Estates

  • John Miles

    And how far would they have gone with independents!!

  • nirofo

    I hope the sustainable development plans don’t include more and more windfarms, there’s far too many already!

    As for “The class war is alive and well in the Scottish parliament”, not before time I say.

    “Representatives of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said the real affect of the reforms would be the loss of jobs of working people such as gamekeepers, stalkers and land and river gillies, and their families.”

    Why would there be a loss of jobs, are they saying that the large shooting estates couldn’t operate without the massive hand-outs from the public purse, are they afraid that if their lords and masters had to foot the bill themselves for their outdated Victorian way of life that they would either have to sell up or diversify into some other form of country pursuit that included members of the general public, tourists even. The types of country pursuit whereby the indigenous protected wildlife and the countryside it lived in provided the main attraction and were the stars of the show, not the selfish rich mans pastime of killing and destroying for their own gratification that they have become accustomed to and which benefitted nobody but themselves !!!

  • Circus maxima

    When I go out the back door I can hear them wailing!……its brilliant.

  • Falcoscot

    Dont think Scottish Government will do much for wildlife protection given their plans of creating even more green conrete (sitka spruce) planting and wind turbines. There’s a lot that isn’t right about shooting estates but take them away and the land is likely to be used for uses which are still not particularly wildlife friendly.
    Give me a grouse moor to 10000 acres of commercial forestry any day !

  • I’m all for land reforms if it’s done in a responsible way. I’m afraid that we might go out of the frying pan and into the fire. Our first priority is for our natural wildlife especially birds of prey which have been seriously vilified by landowners and gamekeepers for centuries. What we don’t want is for the land to be covered in blanket forestry and wind farms. I’m not against shooting estates, but it is a fact that other upland birds do benefit from the shooting fraternity. Give our raptors a chance – leave well alone.