The NGO are delighted that Samuel Kurtz, the Conservative MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, has written to the Welsh climate minister Julie James asking for “much needed” clarity on their position on country sports.

The future of fieldsports in Wales is a topic that, for the NGO, is of both high importance and interest. Given the more recent decisions by both Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government, we are delighted that Samuel Kurtz, the Conservative MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, has written to the Welsh climate minister Julie James asking for “much needed” clarity on their position on country sports.

For a number of years, the NGO have been fighting the Welsh government’s attitude towards rural sports, and we hope that the increased pressure from Mr Kurtz will both help us gain some clarity on their position, and hopefully make them reconsider their stance.

In 2018, Natural Resources Wales made the decision to ban shooting on public land. This is something we fought hard against, joining forces with BASC and the Countryside Alliance to challenge this decision. This was done not just on behalf of our members in Wales but also because of the serious precedent that it could be set for other decision-making by the authorities. Sadly, the judicial review which the three groups wanted to bring about was refused, and the NRW decision was made law.

The NGO did not give up the fight. The exact opposite is true: we have continued to fight back. Towards the end of last year we, along with our Aim to Sustain partners, received a letter from Julie James, Minister for Climate Change in Wales, who emphasised that: ‘The Welsh Government does not support the shooting of live quarry as a leisure activity’.  Our Chairman David Pooler commented at the time that: “These businesses are peoples’ livelihoods. How can the Welsh Government come out and state its lack of support for a legal activity that is the backbone of the economy in many areas of rural Wales?”.

The NGO decided to respond by writing a letter to Mark Drakeford, First Minister for Wales, asking what level of support the Welsh Labour Party would offer rural areas in the coming years, and to get a feel for their future policies and agenda in Wales. The NGO want to ensure that rural Wales is high on the agenda across all parties in Wales. As we highlighted to Mr Drakeford, a lack of support for the shooting sector, which is just one element of rural life, has the potential to have a huge knock-on effect to an abundance of other rural businesses. We are yet to receive a response from either Ms James or Mr Drakeford.

Then, following Natural Resources Wales’s consultation at the end of last year, the Board proposed changes to their General Licences to into force in Wales as of 1 July 2022. One of these was for the removal of magpies, jackdaws and jays from the General Licence for Conservation (GL004). Again, we wrote a letter to the NRW board, highlighting the importance of GL004 for the control of these corvids, and stating our serious concerns over the impact that this decision would have on farmland and songbirds. We shared three anecdotes from keepers on the ground in Wales who had observed this predation with their own eyes. Sadly despite our evidence, the changes were approved by 6 votes to 3.

Shooting is worth £75 million annually to the Welsh economy, it invests £7.4 million in the maintenance and enhancement of natural resources each year and supports the equivalent of 2,400 full-time jobs. We simply cannot see why the Welsh Government are so insistent on destroying this huge chunk of both the economy and their own countryside. 

 

 

Join the National Gamekeepers Organisation and Support Gamekeeping

Trade & Corporate

£100/year

Gamekeeper Member

£45/year

Supporter Member

£45/year

Family
 

£100/year

Joining the NGO is easy and can be done now online.
Or if you prefer, call 01833 660 869

Advertisements

Join our newsletter mailing list: