Scottish Greens declare “nature emergency” in bid to ban grouse shooting

PUBLISHED: 11:23 19 November 2020

Heather burning produces succulent new tips for grouse and other birds to feed on, and removes the highly combustible old heather to prevent wildfires
Credit: James Elkington/Getty

Heather burning produces succulent new tips for grouse and other birds to feed on, and removes the highly combustible old heather to prevent wildfires Credit: James Elkington/Getty

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The party’s harmful policies treat moorland wildlife and communities with contempt in a bid to satisfy their own divisive agenda

The Scottish Green Party’s declaration of a ‘nature emergency’ is treating Scotland’s moorland ‘with contempt’, according to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

BASC has said that the Scottish Green Party’s call for ‘an end to driven grouse moor management practices’ will do significant harm to Scotland’s iconic moorland wildlife. The comments come as the declaration is being debated in the Scottish Parliament.

Recent research commissioned by the Scottish Government has shown that practice of muirburn (the controlled burning of heather) has significant benefits for an abundance of moorland wildlife - including curlew, golden plover, merlin, lesser redpoll and whinchat.

The research also noted that mountain hare, red deer and lapwing were not considered in the study “because there is already a substantial body of evidence indicating that these species benefit from and are positively associated with moorland managed for grouse shooting”.

BASC Scotland Director, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “The Scottish Green Party is knowingly threatening an abundance of iconic moorland species which have been proven to benefit substantially from practices such as muirburn which are strongly associated with driven grouse shooting.

“To actively threaten moorland wildlife under the guise of a nature emergency declaration is testament to the fact that the Scottish Green Party will do almost anything to wage their class war on grouse shooting – irrespective of the environmental, social and economic cost.

“The party’s disconnectedness with rural Scotland has never been more apparent, and this is evidenced by the way in which they continually try to inflict harmful policies which treat moorland wildlife and communities with contempt in a bid to satisfy their own divisive agenda.”

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