Grouse moor licensing – beware the unintended consequences according to BASC

The uplands of England SSSi’s SPA’s yet no Hen Harrier and few Peregrines

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has warned that calls for the licensing of grouse moors would have significant unintended consequences, causing a loss of valuable habitat and biodiversity and leading to unemployment and rural depopulation.

Alan Jarrett, BASC Chairman, said: “It is no accident that over 70% 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.

“It provides the incentive to manage the moors sustainably for the long-term through habitat management such as controlled heather burning and to carry out predator control to benefit ground-nesting birds such as curlew, golden plover and lapwing, and birds of prey such as merlin. Without investment in grouse moors there would be no such conservation.

“In many areas it is gamekeepers and their families that help keep upland communities viable; the local school, the local shop. Grouse shooting provides income for pubs, restaurants and hotels. Without grouse shooting local rural communities would wither and die.

“The licensing of activities which are already regulated by law is a blunt and unnecessary instrument and would harm investment. It is a poor policy tool that often fails to deliver sensible and progressive outcomes. It is no solution. It is purely red tape.

“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.

“There is a better way and BASC supports the efforts of all those who wish to see the return of Hen Harriers to England’s uplands and condemns all illegal persecution. The Defra-led Hen Harrier Joint Action Plan has been developed over years to address the many and varied issues around these birds and we call on all stakeholders to come together and support it.

“No-one should put short-term campaigning above long-term success.”


Isn’t interesting that BASC in the paragraph marked in red make not a single reference to Hen Harrier, Short-eared -Owl or Peregrine, each ground nesting species, why not? One again the shooting industry are providing misleading propaganda. Without grouse shooting local communities would wither and die, is that so? Without grouse shooting most if not all of our threatened raptors would return to the uplands providing a chance for the local community to do what has been achieved on Mull- Wildlife Tourism, which certainly would generate more in the way of hard cash  for shops, hotels, bed and breakfast establishments and eco-tourism.

BASC mentioned SSSi’s, yes many upland moorland have been so designated, but these same regions have also been classified as SPA’s, which as we all know should be managed for species like Hen Harrier but sadly are not.

Merlins breed in the same heather habitat as Hen Harriers, and yet no one from any organisation associated with shooting can explain the reason for the absence of Hen Harriers within these areas. why not?



6 comments to Grouse moor licensing – beware the unintended consequences according to BASC

  • skydancer

    The Hen Harrier and Peregrine come under the BASC umberella of predator control unfortunately,this is another case of these individuals acting as judge and jury of the countryside,they decide what lives and dies on the moors.
    They always throw out this same line about biodiversity,the dictionary says that biodiversity means “variety of life”,without predators on the moors how can there be variety of life.

  • Julie Wright

    Isn’t it strange that no wildlife survived before we humans started management of these moorlands. Since the beginning of time nature has prey & predator, which if I’m mistaken was doing ok until us humans started messing around with it, nearly every species in crisis is down to us & what we do to this planet. I totally agree that wildlife tourism would generate more money for these areas, it would be all year round instead of just the shooting season, so local communities could prosper. Look how many people go to Scotland, although with the amount of Raptors being killed they won’t have much wildlife for people to go & see. There are so many more people interested in wildlife now, look at the Springwatch following. I for one travel to see wildlife & birds of prey, I’ve never seen a Hen Harrier in the wild and would live to see this wonderful raptor, but until we the peoples voice shout louder and say enough is enough they will continue to decimate wildlife and the Raptor population and we will never leave the Victorian way of thinking. You will never change the opinion of anyone that has the word shooting in their name. I for one will do everything in my power so that future generations and wildlife can live in harmony & there are a lot of me’s out there.

  • Circus maxima

    Oh how little these small minded narrow focused people know about our ecosystems and biodiversity. An unmanaged grouse moor could become a much more attractive and interesting place. It would be just as productive but much more sustainable. Productivity derives from the ability of the plant life to use the suns energy to turn carbon dioxide into useable sugars which can then be passed up the food chain. Sustainability derives from the natural mechanisms which exist to manage the productivity.

  • Gary Broxholme

    I agree with Julie well said,i also have never seen a Hen Harrier in the wild and i would love to do so.

    Editor’s Comment. If you join the North West Raptor Group at Dunsop Bridge in the Forest of Bowland on 10 August for the Hen Harrier Protest day you have a chance to see Hen Harriers in real time

  • Kevin moore

    These people don’t care about future generations being able to see these magnificent birds,they are usually rich greedy business men or toffs that have been handed everything in life so don’t value beauty like we do,
    Oh and julie you will see a Hen Harrier soon.

  • paul williams

    I do not doubt that the RSPB have said “enough is enough” We will show them that there can be hen Harrier successes in the Forest of Bowland….Thank you for listening to us at the NWRPG…Thank you again :)