Shoots must do their bit

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

AS Brexit brings the is­sue of ma­jor landown­ers re­ceiv­ing large eu sub­si­dies into the news head­lines, the 2017 shoot bench­mark­ing sur­vey by Sav­ills and the GWCT re­veals that a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of shoots are do­ing their bit for the en­vi­ron­ment.

Of the 155 sur­veyed, 67% are part of an agri-en­vi­ron­ment scheme, more than 75% have cre­ated buf­fer strips and/or field corners and have es­tab­lished a wild-bird seed mix. Nearly 60% of those shoots that have grey par­tridges are tak­ing spe­cific steps to nur­ture them, although only 26% are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the GWCT’S Grey Par­tridge Count. In­ter­est in agri-en­vi­ron­ment schemes is high, de­spite teething prob­lems with the Coun­try­side Stew­ard­ship Scheme.

how­ever, there is also pes­simism about the forth­com­ing sea­son, re­gard­ing game-meat sales—there are re­ports of deal­ers go­ing out of busi­ness—the prospect of in­creased anti ac­tiv­ity (a shoot near Can­ter­bury, Kent, re­cently had 2,000 birds fright­ened away from their pens by an an­i­mal-rights group), the rat­ing of sport­ing rights, bird flu and the ef­fect of Brexit on the im­port of eggs, chicks and poults. Some 58% are plan­ning to in­crease charges per bird this sea­son. KG

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