David Boden, BASC’s Engagement Manager for Wales, tells us why it is so very important that members and the wider shooting community support the association’s ACT NOW campaign and respond to Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) consultation on gamebird release.

The 12 week public consultation was launched on 27th March 2023 and it is vitally important that we stand up to the Welsh Government and ensure that our voice is heard. The proposals put forward by Natural Resources Wales mean that releasing gamebirds would only be legal under a licensing scheme, with the process subject to conditions and fees. This system can only be described as unworkable and disproportionate.

BASC has launched an “Act Now” campaign to raise awareness of the threat posed to game shooting. The aim of the campaign is to galvanise the shooting sector to respond to the consultation, showing the strength and determination to fight an increasing anti-shooting agenda.

The campaign seeks to engage everyone involved in game shooting – plus other rural businesses – in Wales and across the rest of the UK whose income or land management benefits from sustainable shooting; from guns, beaters and pickers-up, to pub landlords and farmers – we need your help.

This threat goes beyond Wales and the proposals could easily be emulated by the UK government and other devolved administrations.

Why does a sector which gives an extraordinary amount back not only to the Welsh economy but to conservation need more red tape? In Wales alone, shooting is worth £74 million and in turn provides jobs to many rural communities, supplements tables and binds communities together. We keep hearing the Welsh government saying it wants to see a thriving Wales – well this community is thriving, but we see no government support.

We all must remember why we are passionate about the sport, and work to protect it for generations to come. Please don’t sit back and wait for other people to respond, say NO to the proposals and encourage everyone you know to do the same. This is our way of life which is under attack, and we need to unite and make sure the Welsh government hears us loud and clear.

For more information on the ACT NOW campaign, please visit the BASC website where there is a wealth of information and guidance to make it as easy as possible for people to respond. https://basc.org.uk/actnow/