Adrian Blackmore, head of the shooting campaign at the Countryside Alliance said: “Calls for a licensing system to govern grouse moor management are irresponsible, and would have significant implications for wildlife, biodiversity, and the economies of many upland communities. Claims that licensing would deliver environmental outcomes are incorrect.
“Moorland managed for grouse shooting has helped conserve this unique landscape where elsewhere it has been totally lost. That management includes the regulated, controlled, burning of heather which benefits many species of threatened ground nesting birds in addition to grouse. Those same species also benefit from the legal predator control that is carried out, with the result that their densities can be up to five times greater than on unmanaged moorland.
“Grouse moor owners in England and Wales spend more than £52 million each year on the management of their moors, of which 90% is privately invested. The income that can be generated by grouse shooting is used to help offset that substantial investment – the majority of which benefits the rural economy.
“Without grouse shooting, this management would cease. Our heather moorland, which accounts for 75% of the worlds’ total, would soon disappear, as would many species of wildlife. The adverse impact on many upland communities would be considerable.”