Natural Resources Wales bans game shooting on public land

Pheasant and partridge shooting will no longer be allowed on publicly-owned land in Wales from 1 March 2019 following a vote this afternoon by the Board of the statutory conservation agency Natural Resources Wales.

[Pheasant photo by Holly Heyser]

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) currently leases four areas of woodland for shoots across mid-Wales, generating approximately £6,000 per year.

Prior to today’s decision, the Welsh Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn, wrote to NRW to affirm the government’s support for a ban on shooting on public land in Wales. In her letter, she stated:

‘‘Whilst shooting on private land is for the landowner to decide, we need to take account of wider considerations and public views in considering what happens on the Welsh Government estate. Given the wider policy issues and concerns, the Welsh Government does not support commercial pheasant shooting, or the breeding of gamebirds or the birds being held in holding pens on the estate prior to release on the Welsh Government Estate”.

NRW’s decision comes after a long campaign led by the animal welfare organisation Animal Aid.

Animal Aid’s repsonse to the decision can be read here.

BASC has a very different response which can be read here.

31 thoughts on “Natural Resources Wales bans game shooting on public land”

      1. Aye you’re not wrong Alex, I’m really struggling to get the League Against Cruel Sports south of the border to push my one to their members, like getting blood out of a stone – the petition I set up compliments their own work trying to undermine the phony economic case for shooting. I’ve argued that they could do a quadruple whammy – put together the four relevant petitions mine, yours, Anthony’s and the one to stop Yorkshire Water having DGS on its land and send them out as a oner, worth trying.

  1. I’m not sure whether this is the first crack in the wall or the writing on it – perhaps both – but either way it’s good news. A result, in part, of the CA et al preferring to keep digging the pit of denial rather than clean up their act.

  2. This is the first good thing I’ve heard about NRW for some time!

    Shooting is worth £75 million annually to the Welsh economy says BASC – really? Who makes the money? Anyway this was part of their response on hearing that NRW will lose £6,000 to the Welsh economy with this policy! And I’m sick of hearing their whining on about game-keeper’s jobs at risk. Bring back bear-baiting as that will create jobs!

  3. “BASC is astounded that the position of Natural Resources Wales can be changed by the radical petitioning of extremist groups”. I never thought of myself as an extremist before. Just an ordinary bloke with a vote who fully supports the Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife recently published. I suspect I am not alone! BASC had better get used to it.

    “The Environment Minister for Wales has pandered to animal rights extremists”. I thought we were talking about public land and democratically elected representatives here.

    “It should be derided by every individual who believes in the right of the individual to undertake lawful shooting”. – It should be fully supported by everyone who has had enough of people with guns breaking the law of this land by facilitating the trapping, poisoning and shooting of protected birds of prey.

    “It is an issue for the very future of shooting in the UK.” – Yep you are quite right and about time too! The shooting industry needs to wake up as, in the view of very many members of the public , you are on the wrong side of the argument.

    I too will consider the long-term implications of today’s decision before making any further comment.

  4. “Shooting is worth £75 million annually to the Welsh economy says BASC”

    Is that so ? Produce the evidence then. Where is the accredited Cost Benefit Analysis.

  5. BASC is ‘astounded’. What’s astounding is the habitual entitlement in their response, the idea that their pursuits are the natural order of things – on public land no less.

  6. Superb decision…I hope that it wasnt made on welfare grounds alone, though..would be good to see raptor and mammal persecution mentioned too?

  7. “This is not just an issue for Wales; it is an issue for the very future of shooting in the UK”…say BASC. I certainly hope so!

  8. This confused me, only 4 sites? I know of 4 pheasant shoots on NRW land not far from me. so what is going on?

    Turns out that at these sites nearby, NRW are the leaseholders, so as they don’t hold the freehold, they don’t have any say or authority to stop shooting on this land.

  9. So, I’m a radical, extremist Nanny Mairi! Wooohooo! Thank you BASC. Though actually, I’m just doing what’s right and ethical.

  10. Is this the start of the rot in the killing game?

    A welcome decision.

    I will pursue The National trust to come up with the same ban.


  11. Funny, I’d just finished commenting on Martin Harper’s blog that shooting, and especially Grouse Shooting, have been running an almost flawless campaign to get shooting banned. Their refusal to compromise even on marginal issues like lead, the complete lack of any real concern for England’s zero Grouse Moor hen harriers , the abusive language and the spectacular bending of science must have swayed anyone with a divided opinion. Yes, if not the beginning of the end, certainly the beginning of a long slide.

    And, just to clarify, Anthony Britner is right that a considerable area of NRW (formerly FC) land is leasehold, and the most frequent right retained by the freeholder is shooting rights. I’m not sure about Wales, but in England c 30% of Fc land is leasehold.

  12. I have to hope this will be the thin end of the wedge for the whole of the UK and also encompass Grouse shooting and former publically owned utilities land and National Parks . One of my concerns in all this is that while we hear of prosecutions for illegal killing of protected species , we do not hear of gun and firearms licences being taken away from those convicted . I had thought that this was mandatory and that a person with a criminal conviction was not allowed to hold such licences or possess such weapons . Now people are telling me that it is at the Chief Constables discretion . They will be telling me next that a land owner can still lend such weapons to convicted persons . It is bad enough to think that they can lend a gun to unconvicted persons for them to discharge them within 25 m of a highway , which can also be s public footpath , provided they don’t shoot people as well as protected species .

  13. I would like to point out to the author of this article that Animal Aid is NOT an animal welfare organisation but an animal rights organisation, there is a huge difference between the two.

  14. I’m a supporter of Animal Aid, believing their heart is in the right place and their science being genuine and generally accurate, but I find the focus on pheasant farming not wide enough in terms of game shooting. This is summed up within the quote that “the Welsh Government does not support commercial pheasant shooting, or the breeding of gamebirds or the birds being held in holding pens on the estate prior to release.” However I don’t actually know whether grouse shooting actually takes place on any publicly-owned land in Wales, or whether the Welsh Government opposes fake trail hunting which is a pretext for plain old-fashioned fox hunting. I also perceive little understanding generally on the ecological impact of releasing millions of non-native pheasants and red-legged partridges into the UK countryside. At the risk of people who read my comments finding the following point repetitive, I see little hope of educating the masses on this topic, while the RSPB is over-cautious about criticising blood sports, due to two lines in the terms of their Royal Charter. For how much longer are their members going to tolerate this ancient restriction on freedom of expression? I foresee very slow progress on several fronts until this restrictive and outdated clause is removed from the Charter.

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