The Independent Panel on Forestry praised shooting in its final report, delivered to the government on 4 July.
The report says: “Shooting in woodlands is estimated to account for about 28,000 jobs in the UK with an approximate value of £640 million to the UK economy. The contribution to local, and especially more rural economies, may be more significant than national statistics suggest.”
Led by the Bishop of Liverpool, the report also acknowledges that, when managed appropriately, “activities such as shooting can lead to beneficial woodland management for nature. Woods and forests…are able to absorb activities such as shooting or military training, which can generate useful income for the owner.”
Shooting organisations were quick to welcome the report’s findings. Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Britain’s woodlands form a part of our unique national landscape which needs to be preserved and treasured. To be viable in the long-term, woodlands need to pay for themselves. “There are numerous examples of forests and woodlands, managed, at no cost to the public purse, by shoots and private land managers, who provide public access and recreation, local employment and contribute to the economy. These woodlands are also areas of high conservation value.”
Alan McCormick, head of deer management at BASC, said: “Responsible deer management is an essential part of successful woodland conservation.
“We are pleased that the contribution which shooting makes to sustainable woodland management and wildlife conservation has been recognised in this independent report to the government.”