Thank you for contacting me about driven grouse shooting.
It has taken some time for policy to be reviewed and updated on this issue, hence the long delay before posting this article. My apologies to all those who wrote in.
Many people have strongly held views about this subject. I want to see a vibrant, working countryside enhanced by a diverse environment. Driven grouse shooting contributes to that goal, so I do not support a ban.
It is essential that our wildlife is properly protected, and anyone involved in game management must respect the country’s conservation laws, which are among the toughest in the world. That being said, shooting as a whole is worth about £2 billion a year to the economy, much of it in some of our remotest communities. It supports more than 70,000 full-time equivalent jobs, 1,520 relating directly to grouse shooting. Grouse shooting is also one of the main land uses in the uplands along with grazing and forestry.
It is important to recognise that healthy, active peatland provides numerous environmental benefits and ecosystem services including natural cover for grouse. I am pleased that the Government is working with moor owners to further improve management practices and peat condition, for example, through Blanket Bog Restoration Projects.
It is also worth noting that all wild birds are protected from illegal killing by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Raptor persecution, including of hen harriers, is a national wildlife crime priority and there are strong penalties in place for offences committed against birds of prey.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP