Unregulated driven grouse moor shooting results in the illegal killing of birds of prey, the persecution of mountain hares, and the damage to upland peatland habitats is contributing to climate change. Now, the BMC wants to see driven grouse shooting regulated and for government to strengthen and enforce legislation to stop the illegal killing of raptors.
The BMC works to conserve our upland environment by promoting measures to protect its special character, landscape, wildlife, freedoms and access which are integral to our enjoyment of wilder places.
This work includes protecting nesting birds, through an extensive national network of voluntary climbing restrictions and working alongside landowners and conservation organisations to help protect wildlife and habitats in the uplands.
However, unregulated, driven grouse moor shooting – with its effects on raptor populations, damage to upland peatland habitats and persecution of mountain hares – is negating some of this vital work.
Over the past year, a group of expert BMC volunteers and staff has developed a formal BMC position statement on driven grouse moor management.
We are asking for:
An immediate end to the illegal killing and disturbance of birds of prey across the uplands
Protected sites managed to return to and/or maintain favourable ecological condition
A reduction in the intensity of managed vegetation burning and a cessation of burning on upland peat soils, particularly on SSSIs and in drinking water catchments
The restoration of degraded upland peatland and moorland, now dominated by heather, to a healthy environment with a more diverse range of flora and fauna.
The BMC is not anti-shooting, but we are against the illegal killing of raptors, and support sustainable management practices in the uplands. We now want to see driven grouse shooting regulated and for government to strengthen and enforce legislation to stop the illegal killing of raptors.
The issues surrounding driven grouse moor management are not new and the BMC is already a supporter of Operation Owl (a nationwide initiative targeting illegal raptor persecution, run by a Police taskforce), and we have hosted the RSPB Investigations Team for talks at BMC Area Meetings and published articles in Summit magazine.
With our position statement published, we will continue to use our platform to help raise awareness of the illegal and unsustainable practices involved with driven grouse moor management.
Other organisations such as the RSPB, Police National Wildlife Crime Unit and National Park Authorities (to name only a few), are already leading on this issue, and we will support them and share their campaigns with our members and the wider outdoor community.
The regulation of driven grouse shooting is one part of the BMC’s vision for sustainable management of our uplands. Alongside many other organisations, the BMC has declared a climate emergency. In 2020, through its Access and Conservation Trust (ACT), The Climate Project was launched to support peatland restoration in the UK. Nature recovery is a key part of tackling climate change and achieving net zero carbon emissions with our peatlands having a key role to play. We have also launched our No Moor BBQs campaign to make the use of disposable BBQs illegal on moorland.
Operation Owl: www.operationowl.com
Raptor Persecution: www.nwcu.police.uk/how-do-we-prioritise/priorities/raptor-persecution
How to report wildlife crimes: www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-to-report-crimes
RSPB investigations: community.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/b/investigations
Other related BMC campaigns
The Climate Project
No Moor BBQs
As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.
From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.
If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join
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