Press release – Scottish Wildlife Trust on Werritty report

Sarah Robinson, Director of Conservation, Scottish Wildlife Trust said:

The Review Group on Grouse Moor Management’s report highlights the serious impacts that unsustainable moorland management can have on Scotland’s uplands. We welcome the recommendation that the Scottish Government should signal its intent to introduce licensing unless bird of prey populations on or near shooting estates recover.

We also welcome the acceptance from those representing the sporting sector that current practices fall well short of the standards required in modern Scotland, at a time when every part of our society has to work together to address the serious crisis facing nature.

But, the report lacks detail on what the measures of improvement will actually be, and what resources will be available to monitor compliance. We call on the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage to set out what evidence they will use and what standards need to be met, to show whether regulation is required.

Since this report was commissioned in 2017 there has been a groundswell of awareness that nature is in crisis. The current climate and ecological emergencies require swift and decisive action, and should mean that the Scottish Government significantly shortens the five-year grace period that has been suggested.

It’s important to remember that this report has come about due to the ongoing and unacceptable persecution of birds of prey in Scotland. We strongly support the recent announcements on tougher sentences for wildlife crimes, as well as increased resources for Police Scotland to be able to better respond to incidents.

However, the issues surrounding moorland management go far beyond the illegal killing of wildlife. They include the burning of large areas of heather, and the unsustainable culling of mountain hares. All of these practices have a serious impact on our natural environment.

We believe the Scottish Government should recognise there is an opportunity to restore Scotland’s iconic upland habitats to their full potential and ensure action is taken without unnecessary delay.


Mark writes: I’m reading the report – now for the third time – and will blog about it tomorrow morning.


2 Replies to “Press release – Scottish Wildlife Trust on Werritty report”

  1. Can I help with a title for tomorrow’s blog and coin a phrase for 2020, ‘as weak as Werritty’.
    I had understood that this was to be an independent review. I took that to mean independent of vested interest. I should have known better and delved deeper from the start.
    Prof Werritty has written that to get a unanimous decision, he decided to forgo his casting vote as chairman. In other words he didn’t want two people to walk out.
    How have we come to have a review influenced by land owners and SNH.
    Five years must be the amount of time they reckon it’s going to take to exterminate all of our wildlife. Legislation will then be pointless with nothing left other than sick and weak grouse on the hills.

    Oh yes, and although mentioning raptors and mammals, he forgot the frogs.

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