The power of a united game shooting and rural community

After receiving a staggering 42,000 responses, estimated to be mostly from the game shooting community, National Resources Wales (NRW) has announced that it will not be continuing with proposals to license gamebird release in the next year for the 2024/25 season.

Rural businesses, countryside campaigners, politicians and shoot providers/participants came together and made the positive argument for game shooting in Wales, helping to stop these proposals.

The proposed licencing of the release of pheasants and red-legged partridge as soon as 2024 was described as a ‘ban on shooting in Wales by the back-door’.

NRW stated that due to the volume of replies, it needs at least one more year to consider all of the responses.

Aim to Sustain partner organisations ran effective and far-reaching campaigns to mobilise the game management and shooting community in this consultation, which has contributed to NRW’s shift in position.

Aim to Sustain’s Spike Butcher commented:

The value of game shooting in Wales must not be underestimated in the corridors of power in the Senedd – providing the equivalent of 2,400 full-time jobs and pumping £75 million into rural communities across Wales, often during the quieter winter months for businesses.
It was incredibly rewarding to see Aim to Sustain partner organisations coordinating so effectively, helping to push our positive message to millions of people.
We all believe in effective self-regulation, not bureaucratic and restrictive legislation. This is the best way of safeguarding the future of sustainable game management and shooting, and enables us to continue to deliver the positive environmental, economic, and social benefits to the countryside.
There is clearly a long way to go with more challenges ahead, but this is a result which should be appreciated and celebrated. Let’s build on this momentum, continue to make our case, and ensure that these proposals never see the full light of day.”

BASC Wales director, Steve Griffiths, said:

NRW’s decision to delay its advice for a year is a sensible and pragmatic approach, but we still firmly believe that regulation is unnecessary.
The consultation proposals threatened the future of shooting in Wales and the size of the response is indicative of the seriousness which the shooting and rural community considered that threat.
We urge NRW to release details of the responses to the consultation and will continue to fight to make sure that shooting’s voice is heard.”

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive, Tim Bonner, added:

We believe that the vast bulk of those 42,000 cited responses came from the shooting community, who opposed the Welsh Government’s proposal to license release which would have provided a vehicle for politicians to progressively restrict shooting.
The overwhelming impression in rural communities is that this is just another episode of ‘Cardiff against the countryside’ and the Welsh Government has a particular prejudice against shooting. Shooting has huge environmental, social and economic benefits for rural communities and our advice to Ministers would be to drop the proposal completely or face a bitter fight with countryside”.