Grousemoor licensing set to become law in Scotland

Grousemoor licensing and a partial muirban ban have passed their latest stage in the Scottish Parliament. The Wildlife Management & Muirburn Bill looks like it will pass later in the week. The reaction from the Countryside Alliance is that it is not what shoots want but they can work with it.

MSPs who brought forward amendments were minister Jim Fairlie, Emma Harper, Alasdair Allan, Rachael Hamilton, Edward Mountain and Rhoda Grant.

Amendments include:

  • The ability to muirburn both in and out of season for certain purposes, including wildfire mitigation
  • The opportunity for a sheriff to hear an appeal to make interim orders in respect of grouse shoot licences
  • Amendment to compel licensing authority to state reasons for suspending, refusing or revoking of grouse shooting licences

Many sensible amendments lodged by shooting organisations via MSPs were not supported.

“The major win is that a licence cannot be suspended now if ‘an investigation’ is initiated,” says the CA’s Jake Swindells. “Nature.Scot now has to be satisfied that a relevant offence has taken place, on that licenced ground and, by someone who is involved with that land / wildlife management and licence. This was probably the biggest issue that the Scottish government backed down on in the autumn.

“Though much of the legislation was unnecessary and unjustified, the tireless work from rural organisations ensured that the Wildlife Management & Muirburn Bill is at least workable for landowners and land managers. Our thanks goes to those who fought in the debating chamber on our behalf.”

There will be another debate and vote on Thursday 21 March 2024, starting at 3pm.

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