‘Key moment’ as Scottish Government considers grouse moor licensing

It’s been three months since the Government-commissioned Werritty Review on grouse moor management was published (see here) and we’ve been waiting for the Scottish Government’s official response, which is due this spring.

We did hear from Nicola Sturgeon at First Ministers Questions in December that shortening the timescale for which grouse moor licensing may be introduced was ‘a serious consideration’ (here) which was very welcome news, although not to all.  Grouse moor trustee Magnus Linklater argued in a Times opinion piece that licensing threatened gamekeepers jobs (here), although he didn’t manage to explain how being law-abiding and not killing protected birds of prey would cost a gamekeeper his employment.

[An illegally-poisoned golden eagle in the Cairngorms National Park. Photo by Dave Dick]

As a follow up to the First Minister’s comments in December, Andy Wightman MSP (Scottish Greens) recently lodged this Parliamentary question:

S5W-27631: To ask the Scottish Government, further to the comments by the First Minister on 19 December 2019 (Official Report, c. 21), what its timescale is for reconsideration of the introduction of a licensing scheme for grouse shooting.

Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon has now responded:

We are giving very careful consideration to the recommendations in the report by the Grouse Moor Management Group (the ‘Werritty Review’).

We will set out our response to the report in due course, which will cover the recommendation on introducing licensing of grouse moor businesses.

Earlier this week Duncan Orr Ewing, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Species and Land Management wrote a very good blog (here) discussing the Werritty Review’s primary recommendation that grouse moor licensing be introduced but that the review had suggested a five-year delay. He goes on to explain what options are available to the Scottish Government as they consider the Werritty Review recommendations. Well worth a read.

Duncan describes this as a ‘key moment which could help safeguard some of Scotland’s most spectacular wildlife’ if the Scottish Government chooses to finally do what it’s been threatening for years and years and introduce a grouse moor licensing scheme.

He urges members of the public to contact their MSPs and ask them to encourage the Scottish Government to make grouse shooting both legal and more sustainable through a licencing system for grouse moors.

You can find contact details for your MSPs by entering your postcode on the “Find Your MSP” tool on the Scottish Parliament website here.

For those who don’t live in Scotland please contact Scottish Ministers at scottish.ministers@gov.scot.

One thought on “‘Key moment’ as Scottish Government considers grouse moor licensing”

  1. I have emailed my local MSP in my own words and recommend that other folks do too. With the other huge preoccupations around it’s important that the Scottish Gov’t gets off the pot now!

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