Shoots must do their bit
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