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24/11/17 15:35

Moorland management

New group to focus on sustainability of driven-grouse moors.

Membership of an independent group to ensure grouse moor management practices are sustainable and legally compliant has been confirmed.

The new group will be led by Professor Alan Werrity, who previously chaired a Scottish Natural Heritage review into sustainable moorland management. It includes scientists, moorland managers, regulatory experts and advisers from SNH, Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

The group has been set up in response to SNH research that found almost a third of golden eagles being tracked by satellite died in suspicious circumstances and that the majority of cases were where land is intensively managed for driven grouse shooting.

The group will look at the environmental impact of grouse moor management practices such as muirburn, the use of medicated grit and mountain hare culls and advise on the option of licensing grouse shooting businesses.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“We have been clear that the continued killing of protected species of birds of prey damages the reputation of law-abiding gamekeepers, landowners and the country as a whole.

“This new group will look at what we can do to balance our commitment to tackling wildlife crime with grouse moor management practices, so it continues to contribute to our rural economy, while being sustainable and compliant with the law.

“The group membership reflects the complex nature and wide range of issues that need to be considered and I look forward to hearing their advice in due course.”

Professor Werrity said:

“This is truly challenging work given the traditions underlying moorland management and the concerns coming to light over some mal-practices. 

“My earlier work chairing the SNH Moorland review also sought to reconcile nature conservation interests with promoting the rural economy. I will be taking an evidence-based approach, and for this we have the right mixture of experience, expertise and knowledge on the group to get to grips with the subject. I look forward to getting started on this review. ”

Background

Read in the birds of prey report.

The confirmed membership of the group includes Professor Ian Newton, Professor Alison Hester, Professor Colin Reid and moorland managers Alexander Jameson BLE MRICS FAAV and Mark Oddy MRICS CEnV MIAagrM. Dr Calum Macdonald, SEPA, Professor Des Thompson SNH, Dr Adam Smith – Director Scotland GWCT and Susan Davies, SWT, will be specialist advisers to the group.