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United Utilities confirms its neutrality on game shooting

The unilateral decision by United Utilities not to renew the shooting leases on its landholdings when they came up for renewal was one that could not go unchallenged given the significant impact this would have on jobs, communities, and wildlife.  It remains unknown how the Company came to such a decision, and whether pressure had been applied by others when doing so. The available science and evidence are overwhelmingly in favour of the continuance of game shooting and its associated management, and no consultation between the Company and those that would be directly affected had taken place. 

We wrote to Louise Beardmore, Chief Executive of United Utilities, to highlight our concerns with that decision, and the consequences that could be expected as a result; not just for wildlife and communities, but also in terms of wildfire mitigation and water management. We have also challenged the company in the media and mobilised local MPs, and 6,975 people took advantage of our e-lobby to make their views known to the Company.  This has clearly had a significant impact, and as a result of the enormous number of representations received, United Utilities has now announced that for the time being, there will be no change to existing leases, and that it will be carrying out an 'independent review' of each of its existing shooting leases to understand exactly what the environmental and social impact would be if they were to change any land management practices. We have asked to be involved in that review, and have been assured that will be the case. All those with evidence and views supporting the continuation of shooting on land over which United Utilities have the shooting rights are encouraged to do likewise. 

We have also welcomed the confirmation from Louise Beardmore that both she, and United Utilities, are totally neutral when it comes to game shooting. This is extremely important, as going forward any decisions taken by the Company will have to be based on science and evidence; not on ethical grounds, or any unsubstantiated allegations made by those against shooting.  The Alliance will continue to carefully monitor the situation, and we will remain publicly vocal in our opposition to any attempt by United Utilities to ban shooting on its land.

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