Overwhelming response to shooting consultation, but where do we go from here?

NRW's consultation period is over. CLA Cymru Chair, Iain Hill Trevor reviews the situation and looks ahead.
Shot gun

“We believe that as many as 50,000 responses were sent to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) opposing the Welsh Government agency’s proposals to licence and restrict the release of game birds,” says Iain Hill Trevor, CLA Cymru Chair, and owner of the Brynkinalt Shoot. “The countryside has spoken with a strong and clear voice. I’m grateful to all those who’ve stood up for the many benefits of game management and opposed the proposal.”

“Now the consultation’s over, the shooting community must capitalise on its unity of purpose and strength of momentum. I foresee the sector building on both by better positioning itself and its resources to take on challenges here, and in other parts of the UK, and establish an even more influential lobbying force, backed by the strong body of evidence that has been generated over the past few weeks.”

“Rightly, the sector’s still on high alert. We don’t know what impact our responses opposing the proposals will have, despite the strength of our argument. As for those who responded in favour of the proposals, we don’t know how many there were – or how forceful their arguments have been. And we don’t know how those charged with analysing the responses will go about their important task – what this’ll deliver and when.”

“Ironically the consultation’s done three good things for the game management community. Firstly, it really has brought the sector together, creating a unique opportunity to build an even stronger sense of mission. Secondly, it’s generated a wide and deep body of evidence to back that mission. This has demonstrated the value of game management in Wales – to the economy, to environmental management and natural conservation, and social wellbeing.”

“Finally, I think NRW’s call for evidence has also shone a light revealing grave difficulties and inconsistency in government on this subject. The proposals lacked any supportive evidence or data. The consultation document itself conceded that the authors have been unsure if a problem exists at all. Critically, the proposals’ commitment not to step into an ethical debate was dramatically undermined - during the consultation process – in the Senedd by the Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change. This undermined the objectivity and credibility of the consultation process. This demonstrates a lack of real understanding between the Government and its agency.”

“The government process determines that NRW should produce a report and analysis of responses allowing time for this to be assessed by the sector. I call on NRW and the Welsh Government to take note of the strength of advice provided by the game management sector and to fully take-on-board the degree at which Welsh Government policy with respect to woodland and landscape management, nature conservation and growing the rural economy – is achieved through responsible game management.”