The Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner, has published a letter in The Times in response to a news story containing inaccuracies about grouse shooting and the way that agricultural subsidy works in the uplands. Please follow link for story:

In the news story “Take off your slippers and get working, farmers told“, quotes from the Farming Minister, George Eustice, implied that he believed farmers are receiving money for running grouse shoots, this is not the case.

In his letter Tim Bonner said:

“Sir, Your report (Jan 5) that the farming minister, George Eustice, told the Oxford Farming Conference that farmers are receiving money for running grouse shoots. This displays worrying ignorance of how agricultural subsidy works in the uplands.

“In reality there is no subsidy whatsoever for many management activity associated with grouse shooting. The only payments that can be claimed are for farming activities taking place on grouse moors, in the same way that farmers receive subsidy for farming activity that takes place on lowland game shoots.

“It is of concern that such a statement is being made by a minister when so much misinformation is already being promoted about upland farming and land use. Livestock farming and sporting interests have shaped our best-loved upland landscapes and supplied exactly the “ecosystem services” that the minister demands more of. Sustaining the fragile cultural landscapes of the uplands will be a key challenge of a post-Brexit agricultural policy and will require a real understanding of how the uplands work.”

Tim Bonner, CEO, Countryside Alliance