The village hall at Llandegwyn Hall, Montgomeryshire, was packed out on Friday 12 May for a meeting dedicated to the Natural Resources Wales consultation on the release of gamebirds in Wales and the future of shooting.
The meeting was organised by local shooting enthusiasts who had invited a panel of organisational representatives to talk about the consultation and the general threat to shooting in Wales. Mid Wales is renowned for outstanding game shooting opportunities and is a serious contributor to the rural economy for these remote rural areas. The hall was full of the most successful and influential shoots in Wales along with numerous businesspeople, who made it crystal clear that they could not survive without the vital contribution of shooting in the winter months.
Panel members present included Rachel Evans of Countryside Alliance Wales, Steve Griffiths of BASC, Jonathan Greatorex from The Hand, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog speaking for tourism, David Pooler Chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation and Matt Goodall.
Also present were Craig Williams MP for Montgomeryshire, Simon Baynes MP for Clwyd South and Senedd Member Russell George who all spoke passionately about the need for a powerful lobby in a significant number to rebut the consultation proposals which would put pheasant and red legged partridge on to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, treating them no differently to other Non-Native Species, thus considering them to be a pest.
Rachel Evans opened the lively session by warning that the situation at present is the greatest threat to game shooting in Wales that ‘the rural world have seen to date’ and warned of untold consequences should shooters not respond and bring others with them on this important lobbying journey.
Rachel urged everybody present to take part in our easy e-lobbying tool, which takes the time and pain out of having to respond to the consultation directly.
Izzy Hosking of Izzy’s Butchers in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant who featured recently in a Countryside Alliance campaign video, addressed the audience and rightly pointed out that the message needs to be sent further than to just those who shoot and encouraged all shoots to send the lobby to feed merchants, pubs and agricultural suppliers who benefit from their shoot days.
In a post on Facebook, Craig Williams MP wrote: “Last night I attended a meeting organised to discuss the fresh attacks on game shooting with key organisations. Word of mouth had spread and the hall was full for what became a public meeting of over two hours - this exemplifies the huge amount of anger and determination to make sure our voices are heard! Many livelihoods depend on shooting in rural Wales, especially Montgomeryshire. I hope the Welsh Government will listen and alongside Russell George MS, I will do all I can to present the evidence. We must ensure the people who live, breathe and are custodians of our wonderful countryside are listened to. Countryside Alliance Wales alongside others are organising the campaign - please join us, don’t sit on the sidelines”.
The next meeting date is to be confirmed for the County of Clwyd and will take place prior to the consultation closing.