The Countryside Alliance Wales has warmly welcomed the results of Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) review on the use of firearms on land managed by NRW. The recently launched public consultation diligently sets out the evidence gathered in the 2017 review with some robust and fair proposals which now need the support of the agricultural and shooting communities across Wales and beyond.

The Countryside Alliance has worked on this review since it was triggered by animal rights campaigning in 2016. The Alliance has been the only shooting organisation to attend NRW board meetings and highlight the importance and contributions of both game shooting and pest control at every opportunity. We expressed serious concerns over NRW using taxpayer’s money to launch this review to appease a small number of activists.

The Alliance believes that many of the accusations directed at firearms use and particular types of ammunition are thinly veiled attacks on shooting. Calls for lead ammunition to be subject to further restrictions beyond those justified by the current weight of evidence are a common element of anti-shooting campaigning, and the Alliance is particularly pleased to see NRW is not planning to extend or alter current restrictions.

The consultation papers set out the evidence and possible alternatives before setting recommendations for the future.

The proposals are that NRW should:

  • continue to use firearms to manage the damage caused by wild animals on the land it manages where this is essential for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
  • consider all applications for permission to enter onto its land to control wild animals affecting our neighbours land
  • consider leasing land for pheasant rearing and shooting and wildfowling where it doesn’t negatively impact on our sustainable management of the areas

Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance Director for Wales, said: “The Countryside Alliance welcomes the proposals within the consultation, which has delivered on its promise to be evidence-based and transparent. Whilst we are pleased our campaign to counter the anti-firearms propaganda of the animal rights movement has proven to be successful, we must stress the importance of now taking our campaign one step further by asking all members and supporters to respond to the public consultation.

“Where we are strong with facts and experience, the animal rights movement is strong in numbers. We know they will respond in large numbers to this consultation, and we need our members to do the same.”

We will work with our members and supporters to support NRWs proposals, the consultation closes on the 25th of April and is available here: https://naturalresources.wales/ShootingReviewConsultation?lang=en