Scottish group highlights the management ‘benefits’ of grouse moors

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A year-long campaign has been launched to “highlight the benefits” provided by the management of Scotland’s grouse moors.

It comes on the first day of the grouse shooting season, traditionally known as the “Glorious Twelfth”. Meanwhile, RSPB Scotland has again called for grouse moors to be licensed.  The call follows the discovery of a shot hen harrier on a moor in south west Scotland.  Organisations representing landowners and gamekeepers have repeatedly condemned the illegal persecution of protected birds of prey on grouse moors and elsewhere.

The first day of the grouse shooting season is traditionally known as the “Glorious Twelfth” The new campaign, titled the Gift of Grouse, is being led by the Scottish Moorland Group.Tim Baynes, the group’s director, said: “We have often not been vocal enough in letting people know how vital the sector is” All too often, there is a deliberate misconception that moorland owners are the only ones to benefit solely from the tourism that grouse shooting provides. “That is simply not true, as we can see through the magnificent conservation work that goes on across our hills and glens every day.”

The campaign will focus on four key areas – tourism and leisure, employment, environment and conservation, and accessibility. Its supporters said shooting and stalking generated £200m for the Scottish economy each year, with much of the cash coming from grouse shooting. They estimated the sector supported 2,640 full time jobs and provided more than £30m in wages.

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A hen harrier was found dead in the south of Scotland in April

Lesley McArthur, of the Glen Clova Hotel, said: “Shooting related business is very important for us because it extends the season right through the autumn and into winter.

“The Glorious Twelfth is the start of the shooting season and the Angus Glens specialise in high value grouse shooting, with the benefits flowing down through local businesses such as this hotel and the community more generally.” The campaign launch comes at a time of continuing debate about the future of Scotland’s grouse moors.

Environment minister Dr Aileen McLeod has said the licensing of shooting businesses remains an option for the Scottish government. Dr McLeod’s comments came after RSPB Scotland issued an appeal for information about the death of the hen harrier, known as Annie, in the south west. She said: “We have committed to an examination of the regulation of the game shooting industry sector elsewhere and have made clear that, though it would be complex and require primary legislation, the licensing of shooting businesses in Scotland remains one of the options that could be adopted.”

A spokesman for RSPB Scotland said: “We propose a set of minimum standards that grouse moors should adopt, which would incorporate all of the reasonable requirements currently subject to law. “We would like to see a regulated system where if there are any breaches of this licence, as with other professions, there would then be penalties levied that would ultimately lead to the withdrawal of the licence to operate.”

Related Grouse Articles.

I have been dismayed to find this article referencing the Bowland harriers, which has so twisted the truth. Can those of you who have accurate facts please contact this online news supplier and put them straight, please? This biased reporting should not go unchallenged. Raptor Politics Follower

http://www.yorkshiretimes.co.uk/article/Hen-Harriers-Need-Plan-For-Recovery

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