Driven grouse shooting campaign – a timeline and how you can help

We have entered the last three days of our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting. Overnight we passed another mini-milestone: at 122,399.  Can you work it out? Answer at foot of page.

I must mention that the Ribble Valley constituency reached 500 signatures yesterday – a tremendous achievement of community engagement.  Thank you all!

The top five constituencies are now:

  • Calder Valley 867
  • High Peak  564
  • Bristol West  512
  • Ross, Skye and Lochaber  507
  • Ribble Valley 500

It would be satisfying to pass 123,000 signatures in the next couple of days but I will have a big smile on my face whether we do or not. And so should all of you who have helped so much to get us past the 100,000 barrier and heading for a parliamentary debate. Feel proud of what we have already achieved – but our success means that there is more to do over the next few weeks.

Although I know when it is, I cannot divulge the date of the oral evidence session of the Petitions Committee. However, the committee has called for expert evidence to be submitted by 5 October ahead of the oral evidence session. Anyone with expertise can submit written evidence to the committee and I will email many or all of the 400+ people who have told me that they have contacted their MPs through Firm Briefing to suggest lines of evidence that could be submitted. I undertake to do this ahead of the weekend of 1 and 2 October so that many of you could play a part in this next phase of the campaign.

Because, I believe, the date of the MPs debate will not be set until after the evidence session (Whose date I cannot reveal!) we are slightly, but only slightly hampered in Firm Briefing by not knowing which MPs intend to speak in the debate. Without a date being fixed then MPs can absolutely reasonably say that they cannot commit to attending until they know when it is. However, there is plenty of Firm Briefing to come and so just watch this space over the next few weeks.

I submitted a fairly long FoI/EIR request to Defra last week asking for clarification on many aspects of the current Defra position and setting them a date, ahead of the evidence session (whose date I cannot reveal) by which I required their reply. A failure to respond in time, or a failure to respond properly, will be reported to the Petitions Committee as part of my oral evidence to them (on a date which I cannot reveal).  The evidence session is a parliamentary select committee inquiry and if Defra does not respond they will be hampering a witness to that inquiry (as I pointed out to them).

I am in discussion with the RSPB and League Against Cruel Sports about how they each are taking this matter forward. You and I are making the running at the moment, as we have for several years, but remember that we are not alone in putting the case for changes in the uplands.

And, of course, the driven grouse shooting industry is rattled by this unaccustomed bright light being shone on its misdemeanours and unsustainable land use practices.  BASC is attempting to mobilise its members (and is very rude about you all) and the Countryside Alliance paid us all a great compliment by attempting to denigrate our campaign. They can’t get away from the fact that grouse shooting is having to pull out the stops as never, ever, before to attempt to justify its existence. We did that  -and we have weeks of activity ahead to keep on doing that.  At the State of Nature launch last week, every journalist in the room knew about the campaign, asked about what was happening and asked to be kept informed.  We’ve done that!

 

So here is a rough outline of some dates, some a bit vague (I know), that lie ahead:

Timeline:

Today, 18 September – the antepenultimate day of the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.

19 September – the penultimate day of the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.

20 September – the last day of the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.

weekend of 1 and 2 October – I provide examples of evidence that you could send to the Petitions Committee inquiry

5 October – closing date for expert submissions to the Petitions Committee inquiry into driven grouse shooting

mid-October – Petitions Committee oral evidence session

late October or November – MPs debate the future of driven grouse shooting in Westminster Hall

Afterwards – firm briefing and thanks to MPs who attended the debate

 

And that figure of 122,399? In the first e-petition we reached 22,399 signatures in a bit under 11 months. In this third e-petition we have added 100,000 signatures to that total in just under 6 months. We have momentum!

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3 Comments

  1. Nimby says:

    Interesting that BASC mis-represent the BDGS in only the second paragraph and then their political affairs manager compounds that error! Perhaps the same school as the MP who informed the evidence committee that the badger was a rodent? What odds on an amendment now being made by their spin merchant? They do their members a dis-service or is it that they seek to whip up ....

    With offerings like that one has to feel sorry for them, with 'evidence' like that then do they really expect to make a credible case?

    What is the 'penalty' for mis-representation or asserting erroneous science as 'fact', is it the same as perjury?

    Do we know if the financial case offered by the shooters has to be independently validated? The chances are it will be shooting then if not maybe simply grouse shooting, will such inflated figures admissible?

    Interesting that the CA are trying to make the issues 'complex', interesting too that they fail to mention or provide a link to their 'counter petition'? It will be interesting to see how they make illegal activity into a complex matter? One might ponder how they will tell the people of Hebden Bridge, it's all down to junior keepers.

    They also inform us there will be no legislative change, astonishing? This brings me back to Mr Merricks assertion in Sheffield along the same lines.

    If readers have time to read their 'evidence' offered on their websites, then that offered is disappointingly light on facts and statistics, I wonder why?

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  2. Blacksheep Bucks Birder says:

    Speaking as just an ordinary insignificant person, I'm just incredibly grateful to you Mark, and all who have organised this. You have given people like me a voice. I don't particularly like being a hate object to people like BASC, but looking on the positive side it means that we are now a force to be reckoned with, not to be ignored. It feels great to be doing some tangible standing up for nature. I'll redouble my efforts to get more people in my constituency to sign the e-petition. I'll even risk upsetting my local birders who have already rapped my knuckles for being too political and not sticking to twitching and ticking lists. Lets get that figure up to 123,000.

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