Board to end pheasant shoots on Welsh Government land

The board of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has voted to end the leasing of pheasant shooting on the Welsh Government estate.

The decision was taken despite NRW having spent over £40,000 on a review into the issue that recommended that pheasant shooting be allowed to continue.

An earlier review also showed that the Welsh Government estate could sustainably generate £500,000 for NRW if it maximised pheasant shooting opportunities.

A spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance said questions will now be asked over “how such a mess was made of this decision-making process”.

In response to campaigning, NRW commissioned a report into the use of firearms on the Welsh Government estate, even though Countryside Alliance research revealed that an earlier report commissioned by NRW had found that the Welsh Government Estate could sustainably generate £500,000 from game shooting.

The Countryside Alliance did not support all the report’s recommendations but was pleased the report clearly found that game shooting delivers on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and on the Well-Being goals for Wales as set out in the Future Generations Wales Act.

Today’s decision not to continue the lease for pheasant shooting means that NRW’s reputation as an evidence-based organisation has indeed been left in tatters.

‘Against recommendations’

Countryside Alliance Wales director Rachel Evans said: “The board’s decision goes entirely against the recommendations of NRW’s own review into the subject which proved that pheasant shooting delivers on Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and on the Well-Being goals for Wales as set out in the Future Generations Wales Act.

“The Minister has put the board in this position with a letter that didn’t once refer to the evidence.

The actions by NRW Board today will inevitably mean the loss of jobs in some of the most rural part of Wales who are dependent on shooting.

“I am bitterly disappointed with the tone of some board members during the discussions today.”

Evans added that she would write to the NRW calling for one off the board members to resign following what she described as an “inappropriate remark” suggesting shoot owners should find another way of making a living off the land.

She added that the decision would have a detrimental effect on the board’s relationship with communities that rely on the land-based sector for their employment.