Defra admits it hasn’t a clue

Here are two answers to questions from Defra in response to questions from Kerry McCarthy MP:

On subsidies for grouse shooting: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-10-20/49693/

On the financial contribution of driven grouse shooting: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-10-20/49691/

Defra doesn’t know how much of your money it pays to grouse moors.

Defra hasn’t a clue whether driven grouse shooting contributes anything to the UK economy (although it has some mates who say it does).

Much is made by grouse shooters of their economic contribution but government, now, is starting to back away from backing them up.

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11 Replies to “Defra admits it hasn’t a clue”

  1. Well past time for a full, objective, comprehensive of the full economic costs, including externalities, of grouse shooting against economic benefits and to see if there is anything else that’s better for the uplands. Government needs to take the lead, the current situation is a joke – policy based on what the grouse moor owners tell us.

  2. I am completely outraged!

    That only a “handful” of people know about this, people who have a direct interest in this campaign.

    Of course I’m in assume mode again but unless it’s up there in neon lights Defra will be comforted that Joe Public won’t go looking for it.

    I watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on Elephants t’other night. He’d let people know – he attracts in the order of 4.6 million viewers to his campaigns. Panorama can get similar figures if the subject is in the public interest – flooding maybe?

    Is there anything in the pipeline? You’ve hinted at it and apparently it’s staring Anand in the face but try as I might I can only see a piece on Countryfile a few months back which isn’t even on YouTube as far as I can tell.

    Sorry if this feels harsh given the tremendous work you are doing but your readership really want a result from this campaign, as do I!

      1. Mark, what am I missing? Just for the benefit of those who are equally mystified! If there are high profile tv programs on the way, when will they shown? Does Autumn Watch have something?

        Actually I think my work is done. As a parting gift I suggest you get a high viz personality to handle the presentation side while you concentrate on the facts and figures. That’s how HFW does it with some success!

  3. On the financial contribution, the parliamentary answer also says that the ONLY figures are from the industry’s own survey! I thought I would read some of this and was rather puzzled by “There are 4 million (est) airgun owners – of which 1.6 m shoot live quarry” followed by “600,000 people in the UK shoot live quarry, clay pigeons or targets”. One minute there are 1.6m folk with airguns shooting birds and animals and the next minute there only 0.6m folk shooting living and non-living things combined. Makes you confident of all the other figures, doesn’t it?

    1. I have often thought it would be a better challenge to bring down grosue, partridges and gooneys with a .177 or .22 air rifle. Good ones are accurate out to 50m or more. It would be more skillful than using a blunderbuss, as now, and would keep the loaders very busy indeed.

  4. I think questions to DEFRA/Scottish Government need to be tightly worded and specific along the lines of “how much has been paid in SRDP/Countryside Stewartship each year for the last 5 years for options in schemes for moorland management? predator control?” If you see what i mean.
    It needs the questioner to drill into the agri-support schemes and see what options exist and ask. I think there was a SPQ a while back about how much had been paid out on the option for diversionary feeding of hh (available to managers with land in hh SpA). I believe the answer was £0.00!

  5. A poor question on driven birds to be fair. There is no data on farms/estates which drive game birds to guns that could be cross referenced with CAP subsidy info. Driven grouse might have narrowed it down but again without any registration of driven shoots how would you know which land to cross ref?

  6. You asked were NE fit for purpose, should this now extend to Defra?

    Public funds should be accounted for, for the benefit of the many not just the few?

  7. It may be worth saying that as much as I am devastated by the looming spectre of leaving the EU, it might mean an opportunity for reform of a lot of land management policy; we need revised subsidy schemes to relate to environmental benefit, which they clearly do not at present. CIEEM is currently putting together working groups to cover such issues as land management and agriculture, protected habitats and species, marine and fisheries, and water resource management.

  8. Shooting facts claiming “Shooters spend 3.9 million work days on conservation – that’s the equivalent of 16,000 full-time jobs” hmmm that is an interesting claim isn’t it, but I guess it depends on what you call conservation work? Personally anything that involves shooting ‘stuff’ in particular birds, doesn’t count, so if we subtracted all those ‘shooting hours’, what are we left with???? I suspect zero. Are there even 16,000 jobs in real conservation?

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