Scot Gov’s grouse moor management review: Chair announcement imminent

It looks like the Scottish Government is about to announce the Chair and members of the much-anticipated independent review group that will be tasked with considering the environmental impacts of grouse moor management techniques and to recommend options for regulation, including licensing.

Back in October 2017, the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee agreed to write to Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham to ask for an update on the establishment of this review group, which had first been announced on 31 May 2017. They asked her to respond by 10 November 2017.

Last Friday (10 Nov), the following letter was published on the Environment Committee’s website:

The Cabinet Secretary told the Committee, “I can inform you that I expect to announce the chair and members of the group within the next couple of weeks“. We groaned a little bit, thinking we’d have to wait until late November for this announcement, but then we noticed the date of Roseanna’s letter: 1 November 2017.

That means we can expect this announcement either today (13th) or tomorrow (14th), if she keeps to her word.

UPDATE: 20 November 2017: Scottish Government dragging its feet on grouse moor management review (here)


9 Responses to “Scot Gov’s grouse moor management review: Chair announcement imminent”

  1. 1 Iain Gibson
    November 13, 2017 at 2:40 am

    I know I should be keeping an open mind at this stage, but can’t help having some degree of trepidation. The constitution of the review group worries me, particularly as the plan is not to involve anyone with known views for or against grouse shooting. Already I can imagine some of the participants, and I’m particularly worried about who might represent SNH, a certain compromised individual who has been praised by Roseanna Cunningham in the recent past. Obviously it needs members who have some degree of separation from the heart of the debate, as a review group with opposing factions might never reach a consensus, but on the other hand a libertarian outcome is not at all desirable to those of us who wish to see a final end to the whole sad practice of grouse shooting. I hope this is not just another Government exercise which aims to satisfy all sides, as that will surely only lead to continuing conflict. I suspect the best compromise we can hope for is the discontinuation of grouse shooting on harrier SSSIs and SPAs, but I can imagine the fierce opposition to that possible outcome coming from the shooting interests.

    • 2 Bob Keltie
      November 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Re the review group’s constitution lets just say that the moment I see a name with any form of title before it I will assume the case is lost!!

  2. November 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Where illegality is the at the heart of the issue, as it is here, satisfying all sides isn’t really possible.

  3. 4 Les Wallace
    November 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I am a little more optimistic than I might usually be. There’s a strong tone here that says they really will do a proper review including that of economic opportunities lost via driven grouse shooting. I suspect a lot of MSPs really, really can’t be arsed with DGS in particular – snares, stinkpits, illegal persecution of raptors, mountain hare culls, what a dreary, pathetic list of medieval anachronisms to be dealing with in the 21st century – but as long as someone can bang on about jobs lost in fragile, rural communities etc they can’t openly condemn or withdraw support from it. If it becomes official that they are far more of a curse than a gift to rural Scotland then MSPs will be in a much stronger position to wash their hands of it – I can’t imagine a conscientious or even just savvy politician wanting to do anything else as DGS’s credibility plummets even further. I noticed that in a very recent post the Angus Glens Moorland Forum did a bit of a critique of Glen Tanar – ‘one of their own’ except it isn’t really. They tried to undermine its case as a model for other estates and one of their key points was that it caters for a limited market – i.e wedding parties and wildlife photographers. Well of course the number of people wanting to get married and take up wildlife photgraphy is so limited compared to those wanting to use grouse as feathered clay pigeons isn’t it? It would be hard to make this idiocy up, but I suppose they are desperate as the snare tightens..

  4. 6 J .Coogan
    November 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Don’t expect radical decisions from this mob they are far too concerned about upsetting somebody and loosing a handful of votes . As for the participants , well SNH will be about as effective as an ashtray on a motorbike , and the group members will be as knowledgeable as the woman who argued that beavers should be culled because they would eat all the fish ( remember her ) and all the other genius’s around her sat and nodded. Even less encouraged when I see Mr Deys name mentioned. I know I sound like Fraser ( we’re Doomed ) but I’ll eat my old deerstalker if this effects any meaningful change.

    • November 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      I think they will have to be thorough and transparent. There are so many conflicted interests, but with political will, as I think there is, it will turn out to be a numbers game, if that isn’t too simplistic. That means constantly keeping up the pressure.

      I’m not totally optimistic, but I’m not anywhere close to pessimism – to minimise any choking risk you might want to consider Deerstalker Soup.

  5. 8 Greer Hart, senior.
    November 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I am glad to see the usual healthy cynicism being shown the several commentators on this issue. My focus, and that of determined like-minded people, such as myself, is that our tanks are now parked, impatiently waiting for the day when we can be truly masters of the Scottish natural landscape. We come with a comprehensive policy of a more humane governance involving strict enforcement of animal welfare laws, along with a well-consulted conservation of wildlife policy. The absurdity of having a bunch of hams deciding on these very important ethical matters, is anathema to the many people who have become deeply concerned over the antics of our law enforcement hierarchy. The flagrant illegal killing of our Birds of Prey and other forms of wildlife, by those who should have been incarcerated, but have not, and continued to thumb their noses at the humane thinking part of the electorate, has been disgraceful and insulting to those who wish to make Scotland a model for the rest of the world in conserving its wildlife. We find that certain civil servants/consultants may have connections with those who wish to maintain the status quo, as the Ferret has shown with regard to the procurement of computerised systems for the Police, NHS etc. However, we must bear in mind the limpet-like association the Scottish Government has had to fish farmers and shooting estates, as they are providers of jobs for hard-pressed rural areas. Anything that can create a modicum of low paid and seasonal occupations will be “protected” by legislation that is defective and thereby allows bad practice, and sometimes, illegal activity to continue, as we have seen with fox hunting.

    Mr and Mr Compliant and Patient should no longer allow to be fobbed off with dud promises and legislation that allows the anachronistic land ownership that prevails in parts of Scotland. Militant stridency should prevail if this Government does not come up with a progressive and clear plan for more effective and humane use of the Scottish natural environment. Throughout Britain, millions mourn over the inhumane practices of the blood sports types, and how Government environment bodies have become neutered, when dealing with the excesses of the employees of estates given over to maximisation of killing any creatures that may impact on game bird numbers.

    I think an examination of politicians’ interests is required, to see if they have the knowledge about the Sixth Great Extinction taking place world wide, whereby wildlife, natural forests and other habitats, are being destroyed on a scale that is nightmarish, with banks and other investors supplying the funds to do so. The message is that every single country will have to play a role in saving wildlife and the environment, and may have to use strong force to do so. Scotland should not be immune to this and whatever form of Government comes to exist here, may have to make a complete revolution on how our landscape has been managed. Raptor Persecution Scotland serves as a great forum for this part of that which needs instant attention, and its supporters will have to see the importance of extending their respective concerns to dealing with the whole world situation. A start could be made by stopping golf course creators such as xxxxx and his rivals, wanting to destroy more of our Scottish areas of scientific interest, to create fortunes for them, and measly and mean jobs for a few unemployed natives. Fish farmers stopped from polluting sea lochs, and killing wildlife, to make the sovereign wealth of Norway rise, when better practice could make a world of difference. The natural environment and its wildlife should not be sacrificed to please a few wealth creators and give some political party some Brownie points for job creation. To ignore the writing on the wall, is only allowing a dire future for this country and planet, as climate change gets worse and mankind can not sustain itself.

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