Several constituents have contacted me recently about grouse shooting and the forthcoming debate to be held in Parliament. I do note the concerns raised.   

Firstly, in relation to the impact of grouse shooting on moorland, I believe that game management can make an important contribution to biodiversity by providing cover for wildlife, and through the creation and care of habitats such as woodland, grouse moors, beetle banks and hedgerows.  

You may be interested to know that the vast majority of grouse moors that are sites of special scientific interest are now in favourable or recovering condition, whereas only around half were in that state in 2006. This reflects growing awareness among moorland managers of the importance and sensitivity of upland biodiversity.  

Game management plays an important role in the rural economy, generating income and employment in some of our most remote communities. For example, shooting contributes in the region of £2 billion to the rural economy and supports the equivalent of around 70,000 full-time jobs. I will therefore continue to support shooting sports and the rights of all those who wish to use firearms safely and in accordance with the law.

I recently took the matter up on behalf of another constituent with the Minister responsible, Dr Therese Coffey MP, and you can read a copy of her reply below.

 

 

Dear Alistair,

Thank you for your letter of 24 August to George Eustice on behalf of your constituents about driven grouse shooting. I am replying as the Minister responsible for this policy area.

Grouse shooting is a legitimate activity and in addition to its significant economic contribution, providing jobs and investment in some of our most remote areas, it can offer important benefits for wildlife and habitat conservation. The Government's position is that people should be free to undertake lawful activities should they wish to do so. However, all those involved are encouraged to follow best practice.

Grouse shooting takes place in upland areas, which are important for delivering a range of valuable "ecosystem services", including food and fibre, water regulation, carbon storage , biodiversity, and recreational opportunities for health and wellbeing. The Government is committed to helping create a more sustainable future for the English uplands, including protecting peatlands through measures such as the PeatlandCode.

Yours sincerely,

DR THERESE COFFEY MP